Solar Thermal Energy resists the economic turmoil and celebrates a strong growth
"In 2008, solar thermal heating and cooling solutions gained favour in more and more countries", says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke. "The solar thermal market in the EU and Switzerland grew by over 60% to 3,3 GWth of new capacity, i.e. 4,76 mil m2 of collector area". While demand for solar thermal technologies increased strongly in Spain, Italy and France, the biggest push came from the German market which more than doubled, from 0,7 GWth to 1,5 GWth.
Austria is still ahead per-capita in continental Europe. With a total capacity in operation of 273 kWth per 1000 inhabitants, it trails only world leader Cyprus which achieved 623 kWth per 1000 inhabitants at the end of 2008.
At the recent estec2009 conference in Munich an international audience was given a preview of the latest ESTIF statistics. As these figures attest, the solar thermal sector is fast becoming an economic stimulator. Indeed, the European turnover for solar thermal products exceeded the 3 billion Euro mark in 2008 and the industry now employs over 40 000 persons on a full-time basis.
"Solar thermal is well-anchored in today's European markets - our solutions help consumers reduce their energy bills and society to reduce its dependence on scarce, imported fuels" says Olivier Drücke, ESTIF President. "With oil prices rising again, we believe that our sector will continue to grow steadily and be less affected by the current economic turmoil".