A new study reveals significant opportunities for solar thermal technologies in European countries. The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) published “Sun in Action II – a Solar Thermal Strategy for Europe”. Built on the analyses of 21 national markets, this study identifies reasons for success and barriers to growth. ESTIF proposes concrete measures to support solar thermal.Brussels, Belgium – June 4, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Solar thermal has grown by 11.7 percent per year over the past decade. And still the technical potential for this clean technology is largely untapped”, said ESTIF president Ole Pilgaard. “We estimate that 1,4 billion m2 of solar thermal collectors could be installed in the EU. This is 100 times more than the current capacity of roughly 14 million m2. In Sun in Action II, we propose a detailed action plan to help Europe realize this vast potential and thus reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, nuclear power and imported energy.” The action plan takes into account the specifics of the various market segments. For the most important one – the residential sector – ESTIF proposes binding regulations requiring the use of solar thermal for domestic water heating. “Barcelona and several Spanish municipalities are implementing such regulations with great success”, said Raffaele Piria, Secretary General of ESTIF.” Financial incentives to investment, raising awareness among potential users, focused promotion campaigns and development of market structures are further important instruments to promote solar thermal.” Sun in Action II shows that solar thermal installations are so far highly concentrated in three countries: Germany, Greece and Austria account for more than 80 percent of the total capacity in the EU. In relation to its population, Greece is the solar thermal leader in Europe (264 m2 collector per 1.000 capita) with Austria in second place (203 m2). But the study also shows that countries like Spain, Italy and France have started to catch up. A presentation of the key results of Sun in Action II will be held at the first European Solar Thermal Energy Conference, estec2003, which will take place on June 26 and 27 2003 in Freiburg, Germany. The study is published by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and co-financed by the European Commission under its ALTENER program. Sun in Action II consists of two separate volumes: Volume 1 analyses in depth the European solar thermal market, identifies reasons for success and barriers to growth and proposes concrete measures to promote solar thermal. Volume 2 contains 21 national market reports. Both volumes are available for download from the link below.