European Solar Power Days 2011

What started in 2002 as "Day of the Sun" in Austria has developed into an annual full blown pan-European campaign running over several weeks.

The European Solar Days successfully promote the use of a free unlimited renewable energy source available everywhere to everyone to generate electricity as well as heating and cooling: the SUN.

This campaign raises public awareness and involves several hundred thousand citizens at local level. Pioneer countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, as well as others that successfully embraced this initiative like France, Italy and Spain, are only too keen to share their experience and help spread the word. The European Solar Days are celebrated in an increasing number of countries and in 2010 around 6.600 events were planned in 17 European countries by diverse organisations ranging from solar equipment manufacturers to schools and local authorities.

This initiative brings together major players from the solar thermal and solar energy electricity sectors throughout Europe. The European Solar Days, which are coordinated by ESTIF in close cooperation with EPIA, are supported by around 25 organisations at a national and European level.

The organisation of annual "Solar Day" events on a national level aims to raise public awareness of intelligent energy solutions and behaviours, particularly for Solar Thermal and Photovoltaics.

Previous "Solar Days" in Austria, Switzerland and Germany since 2002 showed high acceptance by the target groups of the campaign: local citizens, students and pupils. The objective is now to expand the "Solar Day" from Austria, Switzerland and Germany towards the "European Solar Days" to five additional European countries in 2008: France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and the Netherlands.

In the course of the six "Solar Days" between 2002 and 2007 hundreds of people were involved in nearly 2.000 events in local communities, schools and firms in the three countries. More than 100,000 visitors from the surrounding area took part in the activities. Also media responded very positively to "Solar Day" with over 1,000 press releases in magazines, radio and TV quite actively.

Compared with other conventional campaigns, "Solar Day" is an extremely cost-efficient form of campaigning. The basic idea for this campaign stems from the concept of "social marketing" which uses existing information channels between associations and organisations and their members (newsletters, mailings, newspapers, etc.) to call attention to the event.

An official annual "European Solar Day" throughout Europe will be dedicated to increase public awareness of solar energy as an inexhaustible energy source and to encourage more and more people in the European Union to use it. The target is to mobilise 3.000 solar events across the participating countries by 2008/2009 contributing to reaching of the binding target of a 20 % share of renewable energies in the EU by 2020.