Brussels, 27 June 2022 – The Solar Heating and Cooling sector launches ‘Energising Europe with Solar Heat’ – a Solar Thermal Roadmap for Europe, meant to accelerate heat decarbonisation efforts and increase energy security through massive deployment of solar thermal technology in European buildings and industries.
Following the publication of the REPowerEU plan and the EU Solar Strategy by the European Commission, the Solar Heating and Cooling sector brings forward a complementary Solar Thermal Roadmap for Europe, highlighting the contributions this sector can bring to a decarbonised and decentralised energy sector by 2030.
The roadmap was officially launched last week, on June 20th, during the high-level event ‘Heat decarbonisation: a strategic imperative for the EU’ that took place in Brussels and gathered policymakers, representatives of the solar thermal sector, and other industrial sectors. The high-level event addressed the importance of heat decarbonisation in the EU’s response to the climate and energy security crises and the role of solar heat in an accelerated energy transition.
By 2030, solar heat is expected to reach 140 GWth of installed capacity, enabling over 250 000 green jobs, replacing up to 12.1 bcm of imported gas, and ensuring 33 Mt of annual CO2 emissions savings. Moreover, with proper political and financial support, the sector can reach 500 GWth by 2035 and continue growing up to 2000 GWth by 2050.
‘’What Europe is facing now is not a gas crisis, it is a heat crisis. Heat is half of the energy consumed in Europe and solar heat has a critical role to play in the response to this crisis and to the energy transition, as a clean, competitive, and reliable source of heat for European homes and industry” stated Pedro Dias, Secretary General of Solar Heat Europe, during his presentation of the roadmap on June 20th.
Solar heat has been constantly growing in Europe for three decades. This technology presents several advantages in comparison with other renewable technologies, such as lower costs, better environmental footprint, and recyclability. Solar heat distinguishes itself by making a critical contribution to Europe’s economy and strategic autonomy. This is the European solar technology, with manufacturers spread all over the continent, supplying over 90% of the systems installed in Europe. Furthermore, this sector contributes positively to the European trade balance, with countries such as Austria and Greece exporting more than half of their solar thermal production.
“The potential of the renewable heat sector and solar heat in particular, has been underestimated. Direct renewable heat solutions like solar heat bring enormous advantages to the resilience, security, and competitiveness of the European energy sector. It is critical to give this sector the same level of political and financial support that has been offered to renewable electricity technologies” stated Guglielmo Cioni, Vice President of Solar Heat Europe.
The roadmap includes a call for action addressed to policymakers at the European and national levels, providing a path with necessary actions to maximise the potential and impact of solar thermal in Europe. Besides higher targets and a game-changing carbon-pricing mechanism, the solar heat sector asks for specific measures:
- On the demand side, promoting private investments in renewables and energy efficiency, supporting consumers and businesses financially, and incentivising them to make sustainable choices regarding their households or production sites.
- On the supply side, developing a qualified workforce and directing EU support to enlarge the current solar thermal manufacturing capacity in Europe.
The high-level event and the launch of the roadmap are coordinated initiatives in the context of Solar Heat Europe’s 30th anniversary, which represents an important milestone for the whole European solar thermal industry. To mark this milestone, the association aims to celebrate past achievements, but more importantly, to look at future steps and how the solar thermal sector can play a key role in the energy transition, lowering emissions, and finally, achieving net-zero in 2050.
About Solar Heat Europe/ESTIF
Solar Heat Europe/ESTIF’s mission is to achieve the prioritisation and acceptance of solar heat as a key element for sustainable heating and cooling in Europe and to work for the implementation of all necessary steps to realise the high potential of solar heat. With members in more than 15 European countries, Solar Heat Europe represents directly or indirectly over 90% of the industry, across the value chain.
Pedro Dias, Secretary General
Tel: +32 2 318 40 55
Alexandra Sutu, Communications & Events Officer
Tel: +32 474 94 09 81