And here we are! One month into the new year. January has been an interesting month: while we are still looking to what the year has to offer, we’re already chasing after the limited time we have left…
As for many of you in the sector, this has been a hectic month for the Solar Heat Europe team. We welcomed a new team member and the first meeting with the new Board. We have resumed old contacts and portfolios, while reaching out to new ones. And we have been putting together the different ideas collected from members during last year, as well as from partners, looking into the implementation of our priorities for 2019.
The main priority for 2019, the actual motto for our work, is “Re-energizing solar heat”. We are excited with the prospect of spreading the word, within and beyond our sector, about the sector’s strengths and achievements. Clearly, you and us both believe in the merits of our technology and we believe it has a huge untapped potential. As such, we need to be more assertive, more energetic in showing the achievements of our technology so far and how much more we can still contribute to the decarbonisation of heating and cooling.
Solar thermal systems represent today over 35 GWth of installed capacity in Europe, producing 25 TWh per year of clean energy, saving over 6.5 mCo2. This is possible thanks to the know-how, labour and dedication of European experts, and the technology developed and manufactured in Europe from its design to the installation.
In the residential sector we can be proud of having our solution in over 10 million homes around Europe. Be it for water or space heating, our technology is already serving many Europeans to produce and use solar energy at home.
We should add to this number the thousands more that benefit from the use of solar in district heating networks, as illustrated by the development in Austria of the largest solar district heating plant in the world, reaching into some staggering 200 MWth, almost doubling the current largest one, already in operation in Denmark.
And we mustn’t forget about the developments in the use of solar heat for industrial processes (SHIP). In 2018 the largest SHIP system in Europe came into operation, with 3.4MWth, serving a paper manufacturing plant in France. In 2019 we shall see solar process heat systems more than doubling that size,
Yes, our sector is re-energizing. Re-energizing itself but most of all, contributing to re-energize Europe with clean, sustainable energy, that contributes to replace carbon imports with European jobs.
This is happening while European Members States are working on their National Energy and Climate Plans, developing their strategies for the coming decade. While most will focus on electrification, we know better and shall assist them in understand the potential and relevance of renewable heating and cooling and solar thermal in particular.
This is why the year already seems way too short. We have no time to lose. We have a technology ready to help re-energizing Europe and limited time to do so.
Let’s seize the moment!