The proximity of a mountain to the south of the town means that Rattenberg, like many villages nested in steep sided valleys throughout the Tyrol region of the Alps, receives no direct sunlight for much of the winter. It is one of the few places at a significant southerly latitude that experiences a prolonged period without direct sunlight (another is Viganella, Italy), although the sky remains bright while the town is in the mountain's shadow so there is no permanent darkness or 'polar night' as experienced north of the Arctic Circle.
In November 2005, the town announced they were building 30 specialized rotating mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight into parts of the town during the winter months. The $2.4 million operation was suggested by Bartenbach Lichtlabor GmbH, a lighting design company. The EU planned to foot half the bill as of November 2005. However, the project was never implemented.