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Europe: Three Basic Guidelines Help Regional and Global Market Development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 2, 2012

 ESTIF guides

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) has just launched three comprehensive guidelines regarding the Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative (GSWH). On behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the ESTIF team drew up three practical handbooks entitled “Guide for Policy and Framework Conditions”, “Guide for Awareness Raising Campaigns” and “Guide for Standardisation and Quality Assurance for Solar Thermal” (see the attached documents). These guidelines are thought to help stimulate sustainable solar water heater market development in different countries worldwide.

ESTIF is one of several regional partners of the GSWH project. Through the recently published papers, which depict the key pillars of market success, the organization is hoping to spread its long-term experiences in solar heating and cooling among the public. Hence, one of the key recommendations is: “An efficient market strengthening programme must be conceived as a coherent set of measures, including the three pillars: Awareness raising, standardisation, as well as quality and incentives.”

Step-by-step, the first handbook explains on 43 pages how to initiate an awareness raising campaign. It includes various practical examples and a few suggestions on how a solar thermal activist can launch his or her own campaign.

The second handbook points out that the performance of a good solar thermal system relies largely on the quality of the equipment and the installation. On 46 pages, ESTIF takes the reader on a journey through existing standards for solar thermal components and systems, and describes how a testing facility is set up and a certification scheme is introduced. The last chapter covers the important issue of the, “Quality of planning, installation and maintenance”.

The third book emphasises the importance of public authorities in implementing the right framework conditions. Their commitment to renewables will ensure that the solar thermal market actually develops. Framework conditions represent a broader concept than policies. They cover research and testing capacities, qualification and training, the regulatory framework, public acceptance and awareness, as well as subsidies. ESTIF differentiates between non-financial incentives (solar obligations, demonstration projects, R&D) and financial incentives (direct, indirect or tax incentives, and low interest loans).

The new ESTIF publications offer a lot of specific and practical support to stakeholders in new emerging markets, paving the way for a sustainable market development.

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