The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) has published its latest statistics on the solar thermal market in Europe, demonstrating that this €3 billion market provides over 40,000 full-time jobs in Europe where the industry has forged a clear technological lead in generating solar heating and cooling.
Solar thermal creates economic benefits on two different levels: it reduces the costs associated with burning imported fossil fuels or using electricity for heating and cooling, while also creating jobs and economic wealth in the production, marketing and installation of solar thermal systems.
The European solar thermal industry grew by over 60% to 3.3 GWth of new capacity (4.75 thousand square metres of collector area). While much of the market is in one- and two-family houses, demand by housing companies, office building operators and other commercial users is increasing significantly. Last year, the total annual turnover of the European solar thermal industry exceeded the €3 billion mark. A major slice of this turnover comes from local SMEs, through selling, planning, installing and servicing solar thermal systems. Today, solar thermal already provides the equivalent of 40,000 full-time jobs in Europe (approximately one full-time job per 80 kWth of newly installed capacity).
“We replace imported fuels with local jobs,” explains ESTIF President Olivier Drücke. “Solar thermal has a strong local dimension, it supports domestic economies, and created jobs are mostly for the long-term.”
European manufacturers have taken the technological lead in the international solar thermal sector during the past 20 years. Nowhere has the technology been developed further than in Europe. Collectors and products are usually tested against strict European Standards (EN 12975 for collectors and EN 12976 for factory-made systems). Many non-European countries are looking to adopt similar standards and the successful Solar Keymark certification scheme which ensures that a product complies with the EN standards.
“It is now time for Europeans to enact decidedly supportive policies and framework conditions for renewable heating and cooling throughout Europe to unlock the tremendous domestic energy potentials that all countries have natural access to,” says ESTIF President Olivier Drücke.