Project Description

Wien Energie supports biodiversity in the city

The citizen solar power plant in Vienna’s Liesing district produces solar electricity for about 400 households in Vienna (equivalent to an annual production volume of 1,000 MWh). Covering an area the size of two football pitches, not only do the nearly 4,000 solar panels generate 100 percent CO2-free electricity, thereby saving 400 tonnes of CO2 every year, but they also provide an optimum environment for animals requiring protection. The photovoltaic system on Rosiwalgasse has demonstrated how a near-natural habitat can be created and maintained in the heart of the city. By building the system and caring for vegetation in a particular way, plants and animals – such as bees, grasshoppers or field hamsters – can really thrive.

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A picture says more than 1,000 words

See for yourself what the habitat around the Liesing solar power plant is like.

Project details

Setting up photovoltaic systems enables green areas (in the city) to be protected over the long term, as they offer diverse natural habitats for grasshoppers and mantis – which have become rare in our cultural landscape.

When preparing the ground to build the PV system, the conditions of the site and the habitat for the local ground-based fauna are improved by the vegetation layer being loosened. Stony soil material creates sunny micro-sites that meet the habitat requirements of numerous thermophilic grasshopper species.

  • 13 grasshopper species, some of which are protected, as well as the praying mantis have now been identified in the habitat around the photovoltaic system on Rosiwalgasse. A remarkable find here is the rare and endangered Veysel’s Slender Bush-cricket as well as the aiolopus thalassinus (a species of grasshopper). The number of grasshoppers and mantis seen here has increased since 2013, due in part to targeted work to look after the vegetation and general area.
  • A total of four hamster burrows have also been detected around the photovoltaic system. The field hamster populates diverse habitats such as the edges of fields, arable land, parks or cemeteries, enabling it to also migrate to this area.
  • The rare sand lizard is another resident, with around 15-20 of their young being observed close to the photovoltaic system. The heterogeneous range of vegetation and mix of shaded and sunny areas appear to have created favourable conditions for the species to move here from the surrounding areas.
  • Other animals that have found a home as a result of the PV system include the crab spider, the common snail (helicidae), the golden-bloomed grey longhorn beetle, flower chafers and the giant emperor moth.

Ten beehives were built in spring 2016 in cooperation with the Association of City Beekeepers (Verein Stadtimker). Protected meadows have been provided for these at the edge of the PV system, with around one million bees produce 100 kg of honey here every year.

Ulli Sima

The new solar power plant not only supplies 200 households with green electricity, but also helps to protect the bees in our city and preserve biodiversity. For us, this makes an important contribution to safeguarding the city’s bee population in the long term. Ten honeybee colonies with a queen and about 100,000 drones and worker bees each are given a natural habitat at the location on Rosiwalgasse. In this way, we can produce clean electricity while at the same time protecting green oases in the city.

Ulli Sima, Vienna City Councillor for the Environment and Wiener Stadtwerke

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