Austria has set itself ambitious climate targets. In particular, the photovoltaics sector is to be massively expanded. To meet the requirements with typical small-scale installations for single family homes with an output of five kilowatts, around 750 systems would have to be constructed – every day until 2030. However, there’s no need to worry about running out of roof space at some stage because in Austria, the trend is towards large installations with an output of several megawatts.
The country’s largest outdoor photovoltaic system was opened in November 2020 in Schönkirchen-Reyersdorf, north east of Vienna. The 34,600 modules cover an area of 13.3 hectares, which is approximately 18 football fields. Together, they generate 11.5 megawatts, a total of almost 11 gigawatt hours of electrical energy per year, corresponding to the consumption of 3,400 households. This saves 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The next stage of the project will be a further 10,400 modules providing 3.5 megawatts and supplying 1,000 more households with green energy. The costs are split equally between the energy companies OMV and VERBUND, with KPV Solar having overall responsibility for constructing the installation.
Right on time at the construction site
The market for photovoltaics in Austria is growing by 50 percent each year. LAPP is benefiting from this. The global market leader for integrated cable and connection technology solutions is one of the leading suppliers for photovoltaics in Austria and is seeing strong growth in sales. “Brands such as ÖLFLEX® are very well known here and are in high demand”, says Andreas Felber, sales engineer and the person responsible for photovoltaics at LAPP Austria.
A major advantage for LAPP is its superior logistics. For the project in Schönkirchen-Reyersdorf, KPV Solar created a quantity structure as part of their planning as a basis for its orders from LAPP. LAPP ensures that the specified goods are in stock at LAPP Austria in Linz, and the customer can then call them off as required. KPV Solar always gives a week’s notice of the day on which they need the goods and LAPP delivers them to the site on that exact day.
5.5 ton drum
The heaviest cable drum that LAPP delivers to Schönkirchen-Reyersdorf weighs 5.5 tons. It contains aluminium power cables that supply the current from the inverter to the grid operator’s transformer. A total of 180 kilometres of ÖLFLEX® solar cables have been installed in the DC section of the photovoltaic modules. ETHERLINE® Cat.7 data cables are also installed, and monitor the function and output of the inverters. And then there are numerous accessories such as cable ties and FLEXIMARK® labels. LAPP also offers special EPIC® SOLAR connectors and SKINTOP® cable glands for photovoltaic units. All components can withstand heat, frost, ozone and UV radiation, while the cables are flame retardant and halogen-free. And they are UL-certified, meaning that they can also be used for the North American market.
Pre-assembled cables required
In order for such projects to really pay off in the end, despite tight calculations, the connection systems need to last for as long as the solar modules, i.e. as close as possible to 40 years. Since LAPP’s connection systems meet this requirement, they are often the first choice in the solar industry. ÖLFLEX® CONNECT is increasingly in demand, says Felber. Under this brand name, LAPP supplies a wide range of pre-assembled cables. The technicians only have to plug in and secure the cables. There is no need to laboriously strip each individual cable and attach the connector in the rain and wind. This saves time and eliminates defects that cannot be completely ruled out with manual assembly on the construction site.
For LAPP Austria, the largest photovoltaic park in Austria is an important reference project, with more to follow. The company is now well connected, for example as a member of the Photovoltaic-Austria interest group, and Andreas Felber also regularly provides training for electrical planners and end customers, and also teaches at the technical college in Graz. “I’m always close to our customers and find out first hand what they need.”
Video: © LAPP: How To – EPIC® SOLAR 4PLUS Connector Assembly