Robin Welling (TiSUN) elected new president of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation

Representatives from industry, association and research have discussed the short- and medium-term outlook for a market which has been particularly affected by the crisis in the building sector.

In 2010, for the second consecutive year, the European solar thermal market is expected to shrink. The industry, gathered in Brussels for the General Assembly of ESTIF, agreed that some of the main markets were giving signs of recovery for 2011. Only Spain seems set to decline for a third successive year. Germany, France, Austria, Greece and Italy should all stagnate or increase slightly. In the medium-term the market should also benefit from the implementation of the member states renewable energy action plans and of the transposition of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Robin Welling declared shortly after his election “In the coming years ESTIF will intensify its activities in order to put solar thermal and renewable heat at the top of the political energy agenda”. He added, “Solar thermal can contribute significantly to the 2020 targets, provide a long-term solution to energy issues such as energy poverty, but our potential is not recognised. I want to change that”.

The newly-elected ESTIF president, Mr Welling is Managing Director of TiSUN, an Austrian based collector and stratified tank manufacturer. His considerable industry experience and extensive international contact network will be most useful in his new role as ESTIF president.

A key priority of the new Board of Directors will be to lobby for a favourable legislation on energy labelling for space and water heating systems, as well as promote European standards and the Solar Keymark in Europe and beyond to remove unnecessary trade barriers.

Five other representatives were elected to the ESTIF Board of Directors: Alexander Eichwalder from the solar panel manufacturers and market leader GREENoneTEC; Jose-Antonio Pérez from the heating multinational BDR Thermea; Richard Loyen from the French national solar association ENERPLAN; Arthur de Vries from the Dutch national solar association Holland Solar and Harald Drück from the Stuttgart based research and test institute ITW.

Nigel Cotton of the European Copper Institute, who sits on the Board of Directors as Chairman of the ESTIF Advisory Council, congratulated warmly the outgoing President Olivier Drücke as well as the other Board members for their outstanding contributions over the past years.

ESTIF is the voice of the solar thermal industry, actively promoting the use of solar thermal technology for renewable heating and cooling in Europe. With around 100 members from 19 European countries, ESTIF represents the entire supply chain (manufacturers, service providers and national solar associations).