Doppelmayr Builds New Solar-Powered Chairlift


Doppelmayr has built a new chairlift that gets a third of it’s energy from a solar power station built right into the lift system. The 6-seater chairlift was built with technical knowhow by Doppelmayr and Königsolar at a cost of €6,500,000.

VKW, Illwerke, and Doppelmayr have joined forces to build the world’s first chairlift fitted with an integrated photovoltaic system at the Golm Ski Resort in Vorarlberg, Austria, thus demonstrating once more their high innovative strength: One third of the power requirements of this chairlift will be met with the power generated by the PV system. This advanced solution is another milestone in modern-day ropeway engineering and an important contribution to a sustainable future.

What is unique about the project is that the individual solar panels will be integrated directly into Doppelmayr’s standard station buildings and therefore blend in well with both the installation and the landscape.

During 1,000 hours of operation throughout the year, the Hüttenkopf chairlift consumes 180,000 kilowatt hours, 60,000 of which will now be generated by the solar power system, an amount that equals the annual power requirements of 15 single-family homes. Depending on the topography of the terrain and on the capacity of each installation, it may in some cases even be possible to reduce conventional energy consumption by up to 50 percent with this new power system.

It is generally possible to fit both new and existing Doppelmayr installations with the new solar power system. With the system’s exemplary energy efficiency and superior performance, the payback period for the higher costs of the PV system will be approximately 10 years. doppelmayr.com

Related Post: World’s First Solar-Powered Ski Lift — Or is it?



  • Dr Nebz

    How about a geothermal powered lift chair? With the new GES technology, you can put geothermal most anywhere.

  • Uh hmmm

    That should be good for bike parks. However, our solar lights don’t work worth shit in whistler… Pretty useless up in the north…

  • Bullshit!

    Bullshit. Not a large enough solar array to cover 1/3 of the energy needs of a chairlift. PV system would need to be MUCH MUCH larger to generate that kind of wattage. Typically, you can only generate 8-10 watts per square foot of solar panel. A high speed detachable chair uses about 600-800 Kilowatts. So 1/3 of 600 kilowatts is 200 kilowats. Lets say it’s a super efficient system and generates 10 watts per square foot. So best case scenario, you need about 20,000 square feet of solar panels to generate enough juice to cover 1/3 of your energy needs. That lift terminal doesn’t look like 20,000 square feet of roof space to me. Hell, not even 10,000. On top of that those 20,000 square feet of solar panels plus additional engineering and retrofits for said solar panels would cost you more $$$ than you would save in energy costs. You MIGHT break even after 30 or so years once you factor in all those costs plus additional maintenance costs. By then the lift would be obsolete anyway.

    • Garry S.

      Ummm…I’m not an engineer but you are mixing the terms of kWh versus watts of production.

      I will now call bullshit on your bullshit.

      I just had my roof down with solar ON MY HOUSE and we have about 525 sq. ft. of solar panels and we are estimated to generate 6,000 kWh per year with our 525 sq. ft. So, if you need to produce 60,000 kWh, you would need about 5250 sq. ft. (525 sq. ft. x 10 = 5250 sq. ft.). 5250 sq. ft. is alot less than 20,000 sq. ft. Oh, and I live on the edge of the mountains in Oregon, so I do probably get a bit more sun than Austria, but lets assume that they get half the sun exposure that I do. They would still only need 10,000 square feet, which is only 100′ by 100′. That is not an absurd amount of surface area for the top and bottom of a ski lift. Think about all the surface area on the top and sides of a ski lift at BOTH THE TOP AND BOTTOM LOCATIONS.

      Another way to think about it is that my system will on average generate 1 kWh/sq. ft./month over the life of the panels. So, if you want to produce 60,000 kWh per year you would need to produce 5,000 kWh per month on average, which would be about 5,000 square feet with an average production of 1 kWh/sq. ft./month. So, again, the surface area would need to be at least 5,000 sq. ft., which is a lot less than 20,000 sq. ft. of solar panels.

      You might want to do a bit more research on the power production estimates from modern solar arrays.

      • whatever

        Don’t bother arguing with the solar haters, they’re psychotic and don’t care about facts. Just enjoy your obviously superior power solution.

        I’ve had a battery storage solar system on my house for 15 years and it all cost far, far less money than paying a power bill all that time would have.

    • Lollercopter

      No you are totally wrong there!

      There are hundreds of solar panels on the roof and that would easily generate the 450kw hours a day that is needed!

      But thanks for trying!

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