Making solar heat add up: A new study reveals the potential of solar thermal in Europe

Brussels, 25 September 2009. Since heat accounts for nearly half of the overall energy demand in the European Union, the solar thermal industry will no doubt make a significant contribution to the 20% target of renewable energy set by the new RES Directive. A new Study "Potential of Solar Thermal in Europe" examines the growth that can come from the solar thermal heating and cooling sector.

Making solar heat add up: A new study reveals the potential of solar thermal in Europe


Brussels, 25 September 2009. Since heat accounts for nearly half of the overall energy demand in the European Union, the solar thermal industry will no doubt make a significant contribution to the 20% target of renewable energy set by the new RES Directive. A new Study "Potential of Solar Thermal in Europe" examines the growth that can come from the solar thermal heating and cooling sector.

In order to provide the European Union and its Member States with substantiated information on the contribution solar thermal can make to the 20% renewable energy target set by the RES Directive (2009/28/EC), detailed surveys were conducted in five representative countries: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Spain. The information gathered was then extrapolated to the 27 EU countries and the future heating and cooling demand was calculated for 2020, 2030 and 2050, taking into consideration a decline of the overall energy demand due to energy efficiency measures.

Under the most ambitious scenario, solar thermal would make up 6.3% of the European Union's 20% renewable energy target, representing an annual sector growth rate of 26%. As a footnote, the European solar thermal market achieved a spectacular growth of 60% in 2008. By 2050 solar thermal has the potential to cover 47% of the EU low-temperature heat demand.

In terms of economic effects, the impact on employment would be considerable. In total, the solar thermal sector would provide 470.000 full-time jobs in 2020, in the European Union domestic market alone.

"The solar thermal market is expected to reach huge growth in the coming years as energy and climate policies push renewable space and water heating up the agenda," says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke.

Many of the leading manufacturers are already increasing their production capacity and looking to expand into previously untapped markets in anticipation of further growth.

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 proactively working towards a more sustainable society.

The study, authored by Werner Weiss (AEE Intec) and Peter Biermayr (Vienna University of Technology) is available for download at: www.estif.org.

Executive Summaries are available in the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish

You are invited to join our webinar event "Potential of Solar Thermal in Europe" to take place on October 1st, 2009 at 15:00 (Central European Time EU). To register for this event, please click here.

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