The ESTIF General Assembly in Brussels also discussed the short- and medium-term outlook for a market which has been particularly affected by the crisis in the building sector.
In 2010, for the second consecutive year, the European solar thermal market is expected to shrink, but some of the main markets are giving signs of recovery for 2011.
Only Spain seems set to decline for a third successive year. Germany, France, Austria, Greece and Italy should all stagnate or increase slightly.
In the medium-term the solar thermal market should also benefit from the implementation of the member states renewable energy action plans and of the transposition of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
Welling says: “In the coming years ESTIF will intensify its activities in order to put solar thermal and renewable heat at the top of the political energy agenda.
“Solar thermal can contribute significantly to the 2020 targets, provide a long-term solution to energy issues such as energy poverty, but our potential is not recognised. I want to change that.”
Welling is Managing Director of TiSUN, an Austrian-based solar collector and stratified tank manufacturer.
A key priority of the new ESTIF Board of Directors will be to lobby for a favourable legislation on energy labelling for space and water heating systems, as well as promote European standards and the Solar Keymark in Europe and beyond to remove unnecessary trade barriers.
Five other representatives were elected to the ESTIF Board of Directors: Alexander Eichwalder from the solar panel manufacturers GREENoneTEC; Jose Antonio Perez from the heating multinational BDR Thermea; Richard Loyen from the French national solar association ENERPLAN; Arthur de Vries from the Dutch national solar association Holland Solar; and Harald Drück from the Stuttgart based research and test institute ITW.