Carbon neutral? Try POSITIVE

Far from powering ski equipment with renewable energy, Isskogl ski area is going one step further – making their lifts solar generators in themselves.

A year after the installation of a ‘Photovoltaic Gallery’ at Isskogl in Gerlos, the Austrian resort has reported that their lift generated 27,000 kWh of electricity over the last 12 months – but only used 16,000 kWh in itself. This means the lift ‘overproduced’ power by about 70% with the spare 9,000 kWh of clean energy being fed into the power grid.

The energy collection works by placing photovoltaic panels along the Moving Carpet Gallery enclosure, which the company developed in 2001 to protect users from the elements – rain, snow, sun, wind – while offering a clear view of the outside. For lift operators, the Gallery offers plenty of advantages, allowing quick and easy start-up even in the worst weather and snowfall conditions. In addition, the carpet lift is protected from being buried under Austria’s heavy snow.

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The Moving Carpet Gallery, pictured above:

The 180m long Gerlos lift has 74 solar panels installed on the Gallery enclosure, providing a total output of about 18.25 kWp – corresponding to 22,000 kWh per year. kWp means peak kilowatts, and is the unit of measurement for the peak output of solar arrays.

Sunkid CEO Emanuel Wohlfarter now anticipates worldwide demand for the new lift system, due to the quick return on investment costs, as well as the extremely low operating costs.

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