Austria: “Unlock the power of your ideas”

Sunlumo“Solar heat is a must-have” is one of eight theses which a group of solar thermal experts developed during the First International Solar Forum in the Austrian town of Bad Aussee at the beginning of April. Initiator of the two-and-a-half-day workshop was Austrian company Sunlumo, a service provider of research and development in the solar thermal sector. Sunlumo gathered a selected group of 16 German-speaking experts from inside and outside the solar thermal sector, among them researchers, engineers, marketing and sales strategists, association representatives, designers, inventors and philosophers. The aim of this meeting was to brainstorm “revolutionary new guidelines that would serve as a wake-up call for stakeholders and the public,” Sunlumo’s Managing Director, Robert Buchinger, explains.
Photo: Sunlumo
 
During the workshop, Buchinger aimed for creative thinking and not for an action plan or specific objectives. “History shows that it is unconventional ideas which bring about new developments,” the managing director says. “Think before you act. Unlock the power of your ideas.”
 
Challenging the industry and dveloping markets
The organisers posited the eight theses listed below in order to point the way forward for solar thermal. “This Innovation Charter should challenge today’s industry, develop the market, invite political commitments and change society,” a Sunlumo press release reads.
  • Solar heat boosts the world's economy.
  • Solar heat is becoming a plug and play standard. 
  • Solar autarky saves the world. 
  • Political framework promotes solar heating % cooling.
  • Solar heat durably changes production processes.
  • Solar heat finds new forms and a new design.
  • Solar heat is a must-have.
  • Excellence prompts revolution.
The Solar Forum did not produce a final document to describe these theses in more detail, but chose a so called “sponsor” (Pate in German) for each thesis from the team of experts. Buchinger says the sponsor should guarantee that the thesis becomes known across different stakeholder groups. Another task of the sponsor is a regular progress check, the monitoring of activities related to the thesis in science, politics, economy and society. 
 
Follow-up next year
“Whenever Sunlumo takes on something, it hits a bull’s-eye,” the Sunlumo press release quotes Werner Weiss, Managing Director of AEE Intec, the Austrian Institute for Sustainable Technologies. The positive feedback of the participants has prompted Sunlumo to announce a follow-up to the International Solar Forum for next year. The forum was supported by AEE Intec, profilingbrands from Munich, Germany, and the regional tourism association. 
 
One of the sponsors already spoke out on the Ecoquent web blog shortly after the workshop was over. Journalist Cornelia Daniel-Gruber had become sponsor for the area “Solar heating and cooling is the cheapest and cleanest solution for life-long energy supply”. In her blog article, the author showed her disappointment with the forum’s decision to not include the aim of “2 ct/kWh for solar heat from big industrial plants” on the list of eight selected theses. “That would really shake things up in the industry,” Daniel-Gruber writes. “[…]But I get the feeling that not even the industry itself believes in such a goal.”
 
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