Gasteiner Bergbahnen Puts New Solar Park Into Operation

15 “solar trees” at the valley station of the Schlossalmbahn represent another milestone in the expansion of renewable energies in the Skigastein area

After just four months of construction, the solar park at the Schlossalm valley station goes online and produces green electricity to operate the cable car and for 20 electric charging stations. The groundbreaking project enabled the solar power output in the ski area to be significantly increased again. A total of 658 kilowatt peaks are already covered by the power of the sun - this corresponds to 40 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the Schlossalmbahn.

For several years now, the Gasteiner Bergbahnen have been relying heavily on photovoltaics and solar thermal energy in the form of building-integrated solar systems in order to maximize their own production of renewable energy. The aim is to use existing areas – whether roofs or facades – as efficiently as possible. With the solar park at the valley station of the Schlossalmbahn, an innovative lighthouse project is now going into operation. Designed by the Innerhofer or Innerhofer architectural firm, 15 tree-like columns of different sizes “grow” on the outdoor parking lot, each consisting of 12 slanted photovoltaic panels. No green areas had to be sealed for the solar park; instead, the free parking facility for Schlossalmbahn guests becomes an energy supplier with an annual output of around 100 kilowatt peaks. The 20 charging points built together with the solar park even allow the area to be used three times. With a total of 40 e-charging stations, the Gasteiner Bergbahnen are one of the largest charging infrastructure providers in the state of Salzburg.

Functionality meets aesthetics

“We are working towards the greatest possible energy independence and are open to future-oriented and multifunctional ideas such as the Schlossalm Talstation solar park,” explains Bergbahnen board member Andreas Innerhofer, also alluding to the architectural appeal of the solar trees beyond their pure functionality. He sees the combination of utility and aesthetics as a sustainable model with a lot of potential for the further expansion of solar energy. Many projects have already been implemented in Skigastein: “In combination with the existing systems on the roofs of the Schlossalm-Talund middle station, the Stubnerkogel valley station, the mountain station of the Weitmoser lift, the Hohe Scharte valley station and the Aeroplan pumping stations, we produce a good part of our electricity requirements “The sustainability measures of the Gasteiner Bergbahnen and in particular the new solar park also receive support from the municipality of Bad Hofgastein.

360° sustainability

In addition to the use of solar energy, Gasteiner Bergbahnen AG is making many other adjustments to reduce the ski area's ecological footprint and offer a sustainable skiing experience. In the current 2023/24 winter season, the environmentally friendly HVO fuel for slope preparation will be tested for the first time, and two corresponding filling stations have been built for this purpose. The diesel made from hydrogenated vegetable oils enables CO2 savings of up to 90 percent. Further focus topics in the area of ​​sustainability are mobility - keyword: arrival by train using "train in, ski out" and e-car sharing - as well as increasing efficiency in the use of resources.

An overview of Gasteiner Bergbahnen AG’s sustainability projects

  • As a company, the Gasteiner Bergbahnen are aware of their responsibility for the Gastein mountains and are continually taking steps to provide visitors with a sustainable mountain experience for generations. In order to conserve resources without having to compromise on the quality of the slopes, the Gasteiner Bergbahnen rely on efficient snow management. When making snow, data-supported snow height measurements and snow fences are used to produce and hold snow with pinpoint accuracy. The transport capacity of the cable cars is also specifically regulated and based on the flow of people in order to avoid energy losses. And in the summer, measures are taken in the areas of forest care, reforestation and soil activation in collaboration with partners in agriculture and forestry.
  • The energy the ski area uses already comes exclusively from renewable sources. In addition to the 100% certified green electricity that the Gasteiner Bergbahnen obtains from Salzburg AG and the E-Werk Bad Hofgastein, the lift company is increasingly producing its own electricity.

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