Brussels, 13 July 2009. Latest ESTIF statistics demonstrate the strong economic value of Solar Thermal in Europe. Today, this 3 billion Euro market provides over 40.000 full-time jobs in Europe where the industry has forged a clear technological lead in generating solar heating and cooling.
Solar thermal creates economic benefits on two different levels: it reduces the costs associated with burning imported fossil fuels or using electricity for heating and cooling. And it creates jobs and economic wealth in the production, marketing and installation of solar thermal systems.
Last year the total annual turnover of the European solar thermal industry exceeded the 3 billion Euro mark. A major slice of this turnover comes from local SMEs, through selling, planning, installing and servicing solar thermal systems. Today, solar thermal already provides the equivalent of 40.000 full-time jobs in Europe (approximately one full-time job per 80 kWth of newly installed capacity).
"We replace imported fuels with local jobs" says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke. "Solar thermal has a strong local dimension, it supports domestic economies, and created jobs are mostly for the long-term."
European manufacturers have taken the technological lead in the international solar thermal sector during the past 20 years. Nowhere has the technology been developed further than in Europe. Collectors and products are usually tested against strict European Standards (EN 12975 for collectors and EN 12976 for factory-made systems). Many non-European countries are looking to adopt similar standards and the successful Solar Keymark certification scheme which ensures that a product complies with the EN standards.
"It is now time for Europeans to enact decidedly supportive policies and framework conditions for renewable heating and cooling throughout Europe to unlock the tremendous domestic energy potentials that all countries have natural access to" says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke.
By developing new applications such as solar heating and cooling for large buildings and industrial processes, the solar thermal industry is creating new markets and working towards a more sustainable society.
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The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation represents manufacturers, service providers and national solar associations. With around 100 members from 19 countries, ESTIF stands for more than 95% of the European market for solar thermal products.
ESTIF's mission is to achieve high priority and acceptance for Solar Thermal as a key element for sustainable heating and cooling in Europe and with immediate effect to work for the implementation of all steps necessary to realise the high potential of Solar Thermal.
ESTIF is the main co-ordinator of the European Solar days and organises every two years the largest international conference dedicated to Solar Thermal worldwide, estec. The 5th European Solar Thermal Energy Conference (estec2011) will take place again in 2011.
ESTIF is also a founding member of EREC, the European Renewable Energy Council, with whom it shares headquarters in Brussels' Renewable Energy House.
For more information, please visit: www.estif.org.