SOLARtown - powering the future with the sun?

Pupils, scientists and regional stakeholders develop a concept for the implementation of the vision "green community" Hollabrunn with a focus on photovoltaics

By using energy and energy services efficiently and in line with demand we can influence our quality of life and our environment. Sustainable Energy Management has to take into account more than just technical innovations and consider specific courses of action of different parts of the population.

In the course of this project students at HTL Hollabrunn (a technical college with specialisations in electronics, electrical engineering, environmental technology, and engineering management) worked closely together with experts to create a vision of dealing sustainably with energy by optimising a comprehensive regional energy concept based on photovoltaics. These experts included regional policy makers, social and natural scientists, their school teachers and teacher students majoring in physics.

The students involved started out with an analysis of the status quo investigating the region in detail (solar radiation, temperature, wind conditions) and evaluating possibilities of installing photovoltaic systems within the town limits of Hollabrunn. Using one (public) building as an example, students created a detailed “energy profile”. This “energy profile” contained information on the kind of energy, the amount of energy used at what time of day and what it is used for. A prototypical model for optimising the energy situation within this building (“green building”) wad developed, e.g. by evaluating the possibility of installing separate power circuits like a second, low voltage circuit or AC and DC circuits in parallel. Taking into account the results of this analysis, the students determined possible measures for the demand-actuated supply and use of energy services based on photovoltaics in discussions with stakeholders, both the current users of the building and the population of Hollabrunn in general.

These results constituted the basis for generating pedagogical-didactical concepts for professional teacher development specialising in sustainable energy management. Furthermore, a concept of successfully dealing with stakeholder discussions concerning the sustainable use of energy in an Austrian town was developed. We included gender aspects in the whole project whenever they are relevant.

This project has been completed.