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Increased solar uptake vital to reach 2020 goals

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Newly installed capacity in the European market in 2012 amounted to 2.4 GWth, down 6.4 percent from 2011.

EUROPE: New installations of solar thermal capacity in Europe in 2012 fell compared with the previous year and, even though European solar thermal installed capacity has trebled over the past decade, increased uptake of the technology will be required if the EU is to reach its 2020 renewable energy goals, according to a recent report.

According to a Solar Thermal Markets in Europe report published by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) earlier this year, newly installed capacity in the European market in 2012 amounted to 2.4 GWth, down 6.4 percent from 2011. The total installed capacity registered a net increase of 2 GWth to reach 28.3 GWth, up 7.7 percent from 2011.

Meanwhile, analysis carried out for the latest Renewable Energy Progress Report from the European Commission indicates that investment in renewable energy may decline or be delayed unless further measures are taken by Member States to achieve their targets, as planned policy initiatives are faltering and solar thermal energy may fall short of the 2020 target by 55 percent.

The renewable energy sector continues to feel the effects of the financial and economic crises, and the European Union has seen a contraction of the construction sector and a drop in public demand for solar thermal technology, the annual market for which has fallen since the peak year of 2008. The 2.41 GWth sold in 2012 are well above the 2007 sales (2 GWth) but are a far cry from the 3.36 GWth reached in 2008.

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