Brussels, 9th February 2023 – In light of the Special European Council addressing the Commission’s proposal for a Green Deal Industrial Plan, the Solar Heating & Cooling sector calls on the European Commission and the Member States to ensure a level playing field among all renewables in line with the principle of fair competition.
A level playing field for all EU net-zero industries
With several countries introducing subsidies to support the manufacturing of clean technologies, EU response must clearly cover all EU net-zero industrial sectors, ensuring fair competition among all renewable technologies. Failing to do so would have dramatic negative impacts on Europe’s economy and risk already existing EU-based jobs in competitive net-zero industrial sectors, undermining EU’s ambitious climate and energy objectives.
“As the global race to subsidise clean technologies is pressuring the EU to intervene, policymakers cannot give up fair competition, the founding principle of the Single Market. The Green Deal Industrial Plan must support all renewables, in line with the principle of fair competition, especially those with a strong European industrial base such as solar heating and cooling” says Costas Travasaros, President of Solar Heat Europe.
EU response must strengthen EU-based net-zero sectors. While the Commission focuses on sectors where the EU faces stronger global competition, net-zero industrial sectors that are well-established in Europe, such as solar heating and cooling, are at risk due to political inattention.
Solar heat: an EU-based net-zero industrial sector
• A growing market supporting energy security and decarbonisation:
With 40 GWth of installed capacity by 2021, solar heat makes a vital contribution to Europe’s decarbonisation, energy security and affordability. By 2030, it can reach 140 GWth, in line with the Commission’s target to triple solar thermal capacity set in the EU Solar Energy Strategy.
• EU based sector:
The solar thermal industry has a well-established manufacturing capacity in Europe, holding technology sovereignty and providing over 18.000 direct jobs. Besides supplying the majority of the European demand, it has a positive trade balance, with a surplus of hundreds of millions of euros yearly.
• Small- and large-scale applications:
With over 10 million installations, solar heat represents a long-established solution in the residential sector and in recent years is experiencing an impressive growth also in large-scale applications for district heating and industrial processes. Solar thermal large-scale systems are growing in number and size, with several plants over 20 MWth being built in different parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands, Croatia, or Spain.
• Largest storage capacity among all renewables:
More than 20 million EU citizens already benefit from energy storage, a default element of their solar thermal installation. In 2021, the thermal energy storage (TES) capacity of the solar thermal systems installed in Europe amounted to 190 GWh, offering an enormous potential for demand-side flexibility and sector integration.
 Energising-Europe-Solar-Heat-STroadmap2030.pdf (solariseheat.eu)
Note for the editors:
About Solar Heat Europe:
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 members cover different parts of the value chain, being based in countries as diverse as Finland or Cyprus. Recently, Solar Heat Europe published a Solar Thermal Roadmap for Europe comprising key information and data about the potential of the technology to accelerate the energy transition and boost the European economy: Energising Europe with Solar Heat.