Solar Heat – a Winner Technology for Austria

“The four years of climate protection programme “klima:aktiv” in Austria was the most successful programme ever”, Robert Kanduth, the chairman of Austrian Solar Thermal Association, Austria Solar, and CEO of Greenonetec, the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturer worldwide. Kanduth was upbeat about the programmes progress at his speech at the event “Solar heat – a winner technology for Austria” at the beginning of September in Gleisdorf, Austria.

For the first time in history, the ministries worked together with the solar thermal industry to raise a sum of € 1.5 million for a four years campaign – half of it sponsored by the industry. The main objective of the programme – started in 2004 – was the stimulation of an stagnant solar thermal market in Austria. The money was spent on training, information campaign and publicity to distribute a better perceived image among new costumer groups like hotels and guesthouses. The campaign was supported by perennial campaigns in six federal states. Some positive results:

  • 455 alumni of training courses „certified solar technician”
  • 330,000 m2 of collector area installed during four years only due to the programme
  • The market penetration of solar hot water and heating systems in the residential sector of one- and two-family houses raised from 14 % (2004) to 24 % (2007), the market penetration in hotel and guest houses increased  from 5 % (2004) up to 15 % (2007) 
  • More than 18,700 visitors at 250 events for end consumers and professionals
  • 1.1 million clicks at the programme´s website
  • 120,000 information brochures sent out to target group
  • 7,500 requests at the solar thermal info hotline
  • Media campaign with more than 1,900 publications and a total edition of round about 86 million

Overall there was a collector area of 3.6 million m2 installed in Austria by the end of 2007. The sector employed 6,500 full time staff members and the turnover added up to € 385 million in 2007. But the industry wants to get much stronger in the years to come. “We will become a powerful industry, but we need support of the politicians”, Kanduth announced. The chairman took the chance to summerise the conclusions of the scenario “Solar thermal heat 2030 – a technology and implementation roadmap for Europe” published by the Austrian Institute AEE Intec in front of all the representatives of political parties and ministries who participated in the event at Gleisdorf.

“To reach a 10 % solar share of the low temperature heating demand in Austria by 2020, we need a starting programme of € 1.47 million in the next 12 years”, the chairman accomplished. “But the state is going to gain profit as well”, Kanduth pointed out. By this new programme the sector is going to employ 63,000 full time employees by the year 2020, who would be also well paid consumers. A total of 23.8 million m2 collector area has to be installed during the next 12 years. Total turnover of the sector would add up to € 15 billion, which meant a flush back of € 3 billion VAT into the public budget. The annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 2.8 million tons would save the country a lot of money, because penalty fees of 20 to 100 €/tons can be avoided if the national emission reduction of the European Union were reached.

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