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Intersolar: Solar thermal shows strong growth in Europe

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federations (ESTIF) says the EU and Swiss solar thermal markets grew 60% to 3.3 GW in 2008.

In a publication presented at the 4th European Solar Thermal Energy Conference (estec2009) just before the opening of the Intersolar 2009 exhibition, ESTIF said solar thermal heating and cooling solutions gained favour in more and more countries in 2008.

The biggest push came from the German market, which more than doubled in 2008, but the demand for solar thermal technology also increased strongly in smaller markets such as Ireland, Poland and Portugal.

According to the ESTIF publication, Austria continues to lead continental Europe in per-capita numbers. With a total capacity in operation of 273 kWth per 1000 inhabitants, it trails only world champion Cyprus, which reached 623 kWth per 1000 inhabitants at the end of 2008.

Austria alone installed more new capacity (29 kWth per 1000 inhabitants) that high-potential countries such as Spain, Italy or France installed over the past 20 years.

The European turnover in solar thermal products passed the €3 billion mark in 2008.

"Solar thermal is well-anchored in today's markets - our solutions help consumers and soceity to reduce our carbon footpring and dependence on scarce, imported fuels," said Oliver Drücke, President of ESTIF. "This is also the key reason why we believe that our sector will be less affected by the current economic turmoil."

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