In 2006, solar thermal progressed steadily in the EU

solar_thermal.jpgAccording to EurObserv’ER, an organism from the European Union, solar thermal energy saw its demand grow by no less than 44 percent in 2006 in the European Union.

This represents more than three million square meters of panels installed in a year.

Huge differences occur between countries. For instance, Germany lead this increase by installing nearly 1.5 million square meters of panels. France comes second with 300,000 square meters.

This represent a growth of 83.1 percent compared to 2005. According to Observ’er, the perspectives of development of this market remain very good

The French total surface covered by such installations were of more than 1.1 million square meters in 2006. Germany, by comparison has more than 6 millions square meters. The demand boom in this country lead to a decrease of subsidies in order to follow the allocated budgets. France however is keeping its attractive policy.

In 2006, metropolitan France installed 35,000 individual water heaters, 5,000 combined systems and 22,000 square meters of solar panels for water collective needs.

The latest French law on energy (loi Pope du 12 juillet 2005) wants an annual increase by a million square meters of solar thermal panels by 2010 via the Plan Face Sud. Still according to Observ’er, this ambitious goal can easily be achieved.

To reach this, various subsidies are given to individuals by the ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie, or Agency for environment and energy conservation). 50 percent of such an installation can hence be subject to tax rebate. Conditions apply and you can learn out more via the ADEME.

The French production park in cumulated energy is of 812MWth, ranking fourth in the EU behind Germany (6,000 MWth), Greece (2.301 MWth) and Austria (1.987 MWth). But France is seeing the fastest growth with 83.1 percent, Germany comes second with 53 percent, then Italy, Spain and Austria.

To what I learned, France has a highest potential for solar thermal than Germany, so it is reasonable to think that the demand for this energy source will continue increasing as steadily as it is currently doing.

Meanwhile, Spain has an extremely ambitious plan as it wants solar thermal solutions to provide up to 70 percent of hot water needs in new buildings built 2007 onwards.

Solar thermal is a direct replacement solution to fossil fuels for the heating of premises and housings as it can heat them but also be used to heat water. So, its development is indeed good news for the decrease of both our fossil fuel reliance and our greenhouse gases emissions.

Learn out more on the page dedicated to solar energies and solutions.

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