Solar energy - a significant economic factor
- determination of the number of jobs provided in the thermal solar energy sector,
- the added economic value created in this sector and
- the predicted effects of achieving the goals,
The development of the use of solar energy in Austria and Europe since the start of the 1980s as well as the Austrian companies and industries involved in marketing this technology have been documented in the study "Solar energy - a significant economic factor".
One of the important goals of this study was the determination of the number of jobs provided in the thermal solar energy sector and the added economic value created by this sector. Furthermore the predicted effect of achieving the goals given in the European Commission white paper "Energy for the Future: Renewable Sources of Energy", was investigated in order to better evaluate the economic significance of the use of thermal solar energy.
The most important results
Austria is the fourth-largest user of thermal solar energy worldwide behind Cyprus, Israel and Greece — measured as the installed capacity per head of population.
Austria's leading position can be seen, however, not only in the installation of solar plants, but also in the leading role which Austria's solar industry has achieved during the last ten years; as a technological leader and also in the export of components and plants.
65% of the solar collectors manufactured in Austria in 2004 were exported. This means that the market share of Austrian solar collectors among solar plants installed in Europe in that year was 28%.
The turnover of 182 million Euros in 2003 and the provision of a total of 3,600 full-time jobs in the production and sales of solar plants show that the solar industry has moved from being a niche industry to a significant economic factor.
In 2003, the use of solar plants meant a saving of 900 GWh of conventional energy. The cost savings for the users of these plants were 58 million Euros in 2003.
Furthermore in this study the development chances of the Austrian solar industry in the domestic, European and world markets up to 2010 were investigated based on three scenarios. Depending on the scenario, between 3,900 and 16,800 jobs could be created/secured up to 2010.
The total turnover of the sector could be increased to 177 million or one billion Euros, depending on the conditions and scenario, if the market chances worldwide are taken advantage of.
The use of solar plants could lead in 2010 to a saving of between 1,200 and almost 1,600 GWh from conventional sources, depending on the scenario. Based on the current energy provision in Austria, approx 60% of the energy substituted would be from fossil-fuel sources. The energy cost savings for the users of the solar plants are between 90 and 116 million Euros.
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Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut für angewandte Umweltforschung
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