Pitztal Glacier - Innovative and Ecoconscious
Europe's highest photovoltaic plant can be found on Pitztal Glacier at almost 3000 m:
An excellent ski area offers more than just mountain lifts and well-groomed slopes. Winter sports enthusiasts expect not only premium snow conditions on broad ski slopes but also top-quality culinary offers in an appealing ambience. Additionally, modern guests want to enjoy all these amenities knowing that the natural landscape is protected and maintained. To achieve this, both huge investments and the latest environmental-friendly technologies are absolutely necessary.
A prime example of this philosophy is Café 3.440 at Pitztal Glacier. State-of-the-art architecture using little space is integrated into the natural landscape in an ecoconscious way. Low energy costs and - at the same time - a spectacular offer for guests, comprising magnificent views of Tirol's highest mountain, Wildspitze peak.
As early as 2007, Pitztaler Gletscherbahnen entered new spheres of ecological responsibility by constructing the Sunna Alm, a passive house in the Rifflsee ski area at 2300 m above sea level. Of course, technology also plays an important role when it comes to artificial snow production. For this purpose, knowhow from Israel was used to facilitate the physical conversion of water into snow by means of negative pressure. A technique that, until then, had only been used in the South African mines for cooling the drill rigs. In order to preserve the glacier landscape and the ski slopes offering excellent conditions, brilliant ideas also have been copied from nature. By creating small snow dams in convenient locations, snow deposits can be found exactly where they are needed during the ski season. This is only a little part of a sophisticated snow farming management which ensures that enough snow remains on the edge of the glacier area.
Thanks to the latest project, Pitztaler Gletscherbahnen are once again one step ahead. A new photovoltaic system that produces around 1,450,000 kWh/year not only covers a large part of the company's energy supply but also generates this electricity from renewable sources with the highest possible efficiency. At an altitude of 2900 m above sea level the effectiveness of such a system is much higher than in the valley while short transport routes to the mountain lifts promise almost no loss in energy. "With the construction of a modern photovoltaic system at Pitztal Glacier we have set a clear example for more sustainability and environmental protection in the Alpine region. As one of the region's largest employers, we want to set a perfect example and focus on a new and - above all - ecological strategy in winter tourism", states Hans Rubatscher, managing director of the mountain lift company.