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Europe: 1.19 GW and 15,000 Jobs Lost Since Boom Year of 2008

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 29, 2014
ESTIF Europe TrendIt’s a disaster. There is not much more to say about the statistics of the solar thermal market in Europe. The newly installed capacity dropped again, this time by 11% compared to the previous year, down to 2.14 GWth (see the attached document).  All large markets were shrinking – even Poland and Denmark, whose market volume had grown significantly in 2012. According to the annual studies by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the sector has lost 1.19 GWth (1.7 million m²) and around 15,000 jobs all across Europe since the boom year of 2008. The study is published once a year at Intersolar in June. Despite the dismal situation, ESTIF pointed out that the average growth rate was 7.6 % over the last 10 years (see the pink line in the chart). 
Figure: ESTIF
 

Europe: 10 Years of Solar Keymark – 1,600 Collector and 220 System Certificates

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 27, 2014
Solar Keymark statisticAt the beginning of June, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation celebrated the 10th anniversary of Solar Keymark at its Intersolar Europe booth in Munich, Germany. Solar Keymark is a well-established certification scheme and label all across Europe and has been viewed as an exemplary model by countries and regions outside Europe as well. Today, there are around 1,600 different certified collectors and about 220 solar thermal systems, all listed in an online database. The chart shows the countries with the highest number of certificates for locally produced or locally offered collectors. China ranks third with 162 Solar Keymark collectors, after Germany (425) and Austria (211). 16 % of the collectors come from outside the 28 EU countries and Switzerland. 
Figure: Solar Keymark 
 

Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings: “Smart integration of home automation with heating technology”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 13, 2014
Koebbemann-RengersAccording to the regulation on the overall energy efficiency of buildings, the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU) passed on 19 May 2010, EU Member States must ensure that all new builds are nearly zero-energy houses from 2021 on – in the public sector, the directive will even apply two years earlier. With its energy-plus house designs, Bosch Thermotechnik has already been offering such solutions which not only meet but go below the future building standards. Already realised energy-plus houses mostly rely on combinations of PV system and electric heat pump. Many building designs also incorporate a solar thermal system for domestic hot water. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Ralf Köbbemann-Rengers, Vice President Engineering Solar Thermal Systems and Storage Tanks at Bosch Thermotechnik.
Photo: Bosch Thermotechnik
 

Europe: Energy Security Strategy to Improve Relevance of Renewable Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 3, 2014
ESTIFThe European Commission has now published its Communication on Energy Security, which proposes a set of immediate actions to address the current crisis, but mostly concentrates on other measures to be implemented in the longer term. The proposed actions include "an accelerated fuel switch in the heating sector to renewable heating technologies". In a press release from 30 May 2014, ESTIF, AEBIOM, EGEC, the industry associations representing the solar thermal, biomass and geothermal sector, respectively, welcomed the priority given to renewable heating in the Commission’s Communication on Energy Security strategy.
Photo: ESTIF
 

Uruguay: Raising Awareness and Quality

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2014
Uruguay Solar InstallationUruguay’s solar thermal market is growing slowly, but it is growing – thanks to a residential subsidy scheme and a government decree. The scheme, which started in March 2012, has so far subsidised a solar water heater in almost 1,000 households with between 40 and 70% of the investment costs. The decree, Decreto No 451/011, stipulates a 50% solar hot water share in sport clubs, hospitals and hotels for both newly built and soon-to-be-renovated buildings, a move that has already helped to install several larger systems. The photos show a case study of a larger system installed on the roof of the Lawn Tennis Club in Montevideo. The flat plate collectors from company Alejandro Baroni were manufactured locally. 
Photos: Andrés Eliseo Cabrera
 

European Solar Days: Raising Awareness in Eastern European Countries

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 1, 2014
The European Solar Days, Europe’s largest solar energy grassroots movement, is growing fast throughout Europe, with events expected to attract more than 700,000 participants. The Europe-wide campaign is promoting the use of solar energy for the production of electricity, heating and cooling. Between Thursday, 1 May, and Sunday, 18 May, solar energy supporters – from citizens to industry stakeholders and from lobbyists to politicians – will come together for celebrations, educational activities, demonstrations and other events.
 

Europe: Pedro Dias Appointed New ESTIF Secretary General

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 9, 2014
Pedro DiasESTIF’s Board of Directors has appointed Pedro Dias to serve as new Secretary General of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation. The former deputy general follows in the footsteps of Xavier Noyon, who left ESTIF at the end of March. Accordingly, the association has reduced its staff from four to three permanent employees – a result of the persistent sales crisis in the European solar thermal industry and the decrease in the number of ESTIF members. However, the association will soon engage two interns to complement the workforce.
Photo: ESTIF
 

Austria: European Buildings Directive Demands Better Interaction of Building Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 2, 2014
WelsThe coming years will see a sharp increase in the market uptake of highly energy-efficient buildings across Europe: According to the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2010/31/EU), all new buildings must be Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings by 2020 - public buildings already by 2018. The European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference, which took place in Wels, Austria, from 27 to 28 February 2014, was dedicated to buildings that fulfil these high efficiency standards and are supplied by renewable energy sources. It was part of the World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED), one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in the field of sustainable energy. The Wels conference had more than 750 participants from 59 countries this year.
Photo: WSED
 

Austria/Europe: General Solar Systems and Sonnenkraft Management Buyout

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2014
Since 1 January 2014, General Solar Systems (GSS), one of the biggest solar thermal system suppliers in Europe, has had a new owner: Together with Austrian investors, former GSS Financial Director Primus Spitzer took over the company from Danish Solarcap, a subsidiary of VKR Holding. The takeover was announced in a press release on 3 February 2014. GSS with its well-known brand Sonnenkraft is now owned by Austrian company PS Helios headquartered in St Veit, Austria, with Spitzer being the only shareholder. According to the press release, GSS employed nearly 150 staff and achieved a turnover of around EUR 45 million in 2013.
 

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