Pupils summarize Austrian solar energy research against the backdrop of RIO+20 and develop scenarios up to 2030

International studies such as the "Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation" of IPCC (2011) or the "World Energy Outlook" of IEA (2011) show that development paths to a global sustainable society are dependent on availability and a high quality of technologies for the use of renewable energy.

Against this background, the research project RIOSOLAR addressed the technologies for the direct use of solar energy - solar thermal and photovoltaic. Pupils worked out the research highlights of the Austrian solar energy research and analysed the impact on the historic market and technology development since the 1970s. Furthermore empirical case studies were identified, technical and economic indicators were analysed and scenarios for future development up to the year 2030 were presented.

The energy payback time and the CO2 avoidance costs of solar technologies are two important indicators of system´s quality and long-term importance of these technologies in a sustainable society. Against this background, the forced use of photovoltaic and solar thermal is often seen critically in the energy policy debate. The arguments against solar technologies are mostly based on historical data. Given the rapid development of solar technologies, they have no more validity. This lack of information has an inhibitory effect and reduces the possible energetic and economic contribution of these technologies to a sustainable development.

The used methodology consisted of the analysis of technical and economic learning curves for technical system components and total systems. The Austrian, the German and the global markets were considered. The pupils of the HTL Wiener Neustadt analysed case studies in their education and living environment, thus creating valuable empirical data, which was then compared with the results of an international literature review and technical modeling. Based on these data, scenarios for the future development of technical, environmental and economic parameters were created up to the year 2030.

The project results enabled a strategic technology assessment of technological, environmental and energy policy, and defined starting points for technological innovation and optimization potential.

This project has been completed.