New projects underline high solar energy potential for Northern Countries
Added: (Wed Apr 18 2001)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
The world potential for the use of solar energy is at least 100 times higher than its current use. Even in Northern countries, the sun is powerful enough to supply a substantial portion of the heat and electricity demand. At North Sun 2001, a conference on using solar energy at high latitudes (Leiden, the Netherlands, 6-8 May 2001), several new projects will be launched to prove that.
The new Soltherm Europe Initiative sets out to fulfil the challenge that has been set by the European Commission two years ago: to realise 15 million m2 of solar collectors in 2004 which is equivalent to solar water heating systems for 3 million households. To perform that ambitious mission, Soltherm Europe aims at uniting key European market players including government bodies, housing associations, utilities, consumer organisations, industry and installers. Initiated by Ecofys, an international renewable energy knowledge company, the campaign aims to increase the awareness of the customers as well as to mobilise the complete production and installation chain. The Action Plan will be based on a decade of experience with market introduction of solar heating in several countries.
Effective national policies have a much larger influence on the market penetration of solar energy than a favourable climate. Analysis of the markets of different countries shows that national policies have a major impact. This encouraging conclusion is drawn by the Solar Heating and Cooling program of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Applications like solar water heating and solar buildings are technically well developed but market penetrations are still quite small compared of the potential of about 1 m2 per person. New technologies like efficient seasonal storage and solar cooling can expand that potential even further, so that the Kyoto obligations can easily be met if more use is made of solar heating technologies.
A great example of realisation of solar energy is set by the leading Dutch utility in the field of the renewable energy Nuon, in the form of a huge 2.3 million Watt-peak PV system. This solar power system with the size of about three soccer fields will be mounted on the roof of a 30,000 m2 exposition hall at "Floriade 2002". "Floriade" is a large international horticultural exposition, taking place every 10 years. The project is financed partly by selling the Green Electricity produced by this installation to the Dutch municipality of Haarlemmermeer. When this installation is finished, it will be the largest 'solar roof' in the world.
These and other developments will be presented at the North Sun 2001 conference. For more information, see www.northsun.org.