Olivier Drücke elected new president of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation - 2008 sector growth estimated at 45%

Brussels, (PresseBox) - The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) members elected a new Board of Directors on 2 December at their General Assembly in Athens where they discussed the sector development.

Reports from the development of national markets in 2008 show an increase in new installations of 45-50% to around 2,8 GWth of new capacity. For the first time the total collector area newly installed in Europe could reach the 4 million square meters mark in one year. And while the industry experts agreed that the short-term effects of the current economic turmoil are difficult to foresee, there was wide-spread confidence that the medium- and long-term outlook for solar thermal was very positive.

The ESTIF members elected a new Board of Directors and Mr Olivier Drücke as their new president. Mr Drücke is Head of Sales and Marketing of KBB Kollektorbau GmbH, a Berlin-based collector manufacturer. His vast industry experience and extensive international contact network will be very useful in his new role as ESTIF president.

A key priority of the new Board of Directors will be to support the member associations in the national implementation of the forthcoming Renewable Energy Directive. This piece of legislation is expected to have a strong positive impact on the solar thermal market in the coming years. National governments will have to be made aware that solar thermal can make a large contribution to meeting their national renewable energy target, if the right policy measures are put in place.

"The Directive contains much of what ESTIF has promoted for years", says ESTIF President Drücke." Once it is agreed, we must work hard to achieve good results from it in the 27 EU Member States. We will especially try to strengthen solar thermal actors, where national associations do not yet exist."

Three other persons were newly elected on the ESTIF Board of Directors:
Alexander Eichwalder of Austria's GREENoneTEC, Helle Meinertz of the Danish company SolarCAP and Raffaele Piria of Solarpraxis in Germany. Robin Welling of TiSUN and Richard Loyen of ENERPLAN were re-confirmed.

Nigel Cotton of the European Copper Institute, who continues on the Board as Chairman of ESTIF's Advisory Council, thanked the outgoing Board members for their excellent work in the past years. Four Board members, who had served since 2002, did not run for re-election: Teun Bokhoven of ZEN International, Horst Dufner of Solar Promotion, Gerhard Rabensteiner of Kioto Clear Energy and Gerhard Stryi-Hipp of Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft.

European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF)

The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation represents manufacturers, service providers and national solar associations. With more than 100 members from 19 countries, ESTIF represents more than 95 % of the European market for solar thermal products.

ESTIF's mission is to achieve high priority and acceptance for Solar Thermal as a key element for sustainable heating and cooling in Europe and with immediate effect to work for the implementation of all steps necessary to realise the high potential of Solar Thermal.

ESTIF organizes every two years the largest international conference dedicated to Solar Thermal worldwide. The 4th European Solar Thermal Energy Conference, estec2009, will take place on 25-26 May 2009 in Munich (Germany).

ESTIF is also a founding member of EREC, the European Renewable Energy Council, with whom it shares headquarters in Brussels' Renewable Energy.

For more information, please visit: www.estif.org.

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