Earlier this year, the Solar Heating and Cooling sector launched ‘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.
The strategic document is supported by 200 signatories, public and private entities, from the solar thermal sector and beyond, and it serves as a foundation in advocacy efforts to accelerate heat decarbonisation with solar heat. The latest version of the roadmap includes the signatory entities and an updated illustration of energy costs.
Decarbonising heating & cooling with already available solutions
The roadmap highlights the contributions the sector can bring to a decarbonised and decentralised energy sector by 2030 and it was launched in June 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.
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 heating 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 in June.
Improving energy security with a European technology
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.
A call for action at the political level
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.
“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, during the launch of the roadmap.