Solar in Austria is booming. Last year the Austrian Climate Ministry approved a €50 million budget for the development of solar in the country, which was used to expand solar in residential, utility, public and private contexts. In total, this amounted to 15,957 new solar projects installed in 2020, totalling 332 MW. The goal of Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler is to get Austria running on 100% renewable energy by 2030. The foundation for this goal is the ambitious One-Million-Rooftops-Program. As the most cost-competitive, job-intensive and versatile energy technology, Gewessler seeks to spread solar across as many roofs as possible in Austria.
This week, the Federal Association for Photovoltaics in Austria, in line with the Finance Minister, Gernot Blümel, noted that a key mechanism for achieving the 2030 goal will be Austria’s €3.3 billion EU Recovery Fund, which should primarily go towards increasing solar grid capacity, especially at medium voltage levels. The Association asks that €1 billion of the Fund is actively directed towards expanding the electricity grid. Indeed, Recovery Funds could support half of the grid connection costs and the remaining costs would be covered by project fees or corresponding grid fees.
Herbert Paierl, Chairman of the Board of the Federal Association Photovoltaic Austria, stated: “By using the EU Recovery Fund for the expansion of the Austrian electricity grids, the expansion of solar will not only provide safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable electricity but electricity that is also transparent and cost-effective. In addition, tens of thousands of domestic jobs will be created, and domestic value creation is promoted. I am sure that this proposal will be supported by respective social partners and federal provinces.”
The Bureau of Austrian Climate and Energy Funding has now also approved the program for 2021. €217.3 million will be made available, which will primarily go towards expanding renewables, restructuring the energy and mobility system, and decarbonizing industry.
Photo: Western Carinthia, Austria, (c) Sergiy Palamarchuk