Solar thermal booming in Europe, says ESTIF

Europe's solar thermal industry is booming. According to surveys conducted by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the European market grew by 35% to more than 2.7 million m² collector area in 2006, with the new solar thermal capacity close to 2 GWth.

As the market grows, however, so do the challenges faced by the solar thermal industry. The future development of the European and worldwide markets, the most efficient market launch programmes, new collector and storage technologies as well as process heat and solar air conditioning are important topics affecting the industry. These and underlying policy frameworks will be discussed at the 3rd European Solar Thermal Conference, estec2007, which is taking place from 19- 20 June 2007 in Freiburg, Germany. The conference is being held prior to Intersolar 2007, Europe’s largest trade fair for solar technology. The conference programme is now available online at

estec provides an international platform for discussing the latest developments in the solar thermal industry. The two-day conference is aimed at experts and decision-makers from industry, research and politics. “We were extremely delighted to have received more than 100 conference papers,“ said Mr Raffaele Piria, Policy Director at the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF). ESTIF is hosting estec2007 and at the same time sponsoring Intersolar. The conference is being organised by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) in collaboration with Intersolar 2007. “The high quality of the submitted conference abstracts underlines the importance of estec2007 as the world’s most important solar thermal conference,“ stated Mr Piria.

In addition to policy frameworks, the opening presentations at estec2007 will discuss the latest market developments and prospects for solar thermal. These will be viewed particularly in the context of the resolution adopted by the European Council on 9 March 2007 to increase the share of renewable energy sources to 20% by 2020. Distinguished speakers will outline future technological developments and the first results from the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform ESTTP. The conference will focus, amongst other things, on presenting the development of the most important European and international solar thermal markets.

“The emerging solar thermal industry needs sound information on the market and the technological trends,“ explained Mr Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, Managing Director of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar). “It is only then that investment decisions such as whether to increase production or to launch into the export business can be specifically planned. In this regard, estec2007 offers decision-makers from the international solar power industry the world’s best information platform,“ according to Mr Stryi-Hipp.

Successful European marketing models are included in the programme, as well as country reports from all over the world. Among others, Mr Roger Hackstock, Managing Director of the solar thermal association Austria Solar, reports on the “European Solar Day” and the experience had in Austria. Groups of presentations on the possibilities of marketing, quality assurance, standards and certification as well as solar thermal technical innovations, including the utilisation of process heat and solar air conditioning as well as the latest collectors and storage developments round of the comprehensive programme.

The conference takes place from 19-20 June 2007 in the Konzerthaus in Freiburg (Germany), and is supported by the European Community under their Intelligent Energy – Europe programme. Registration at the reduced early booking price is possible up to 7 May. Further information on the conference is available online at Users can also subscribe to the newsletter, which in the run-up to the conference provides monthly information on the development of the international solar thermal markets and the most important conference topics.

The conference will be immediately followed by Intersolar 2007, Europe’s largest trade fair for the solar power industry, which takes place at the Exhibition Centre from 21-23 June.

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