Euros Mark Their Calendars For Solar Days

Here’s hoping for a good long stretch of sunny weather all across Europe in the first few weeks of May 2012. That’s when the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) says it will hold the next annual European Solar Days event. The two-week-long campaign, beginning May 1, is dedicated to increasing public awareness of solar energy across Europe, and encouraging more people in the European Union to use solar energy technologies.

Solar Days began as an effort to mobilize 3,000 solar energy-related events across three participating countries, and with the greater goal of helping the European Union reach its target of a generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020. From 2002 to 2007, more than 100,000 people participated in nearly 2,000 events in local communities, schools and firms, according to organizers. Since then, the event has grown – attracting half a million citizens to more than 8,000 events in 19 countries throughout Europe.

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image via European Solar Days

Events during the 2011 European Solar Days campaign included workshops, open-door tours, exhibitions and public lectures. The events were organized by hundreds of independent solar companies, installers, schools and local authorities, and were intended to provide information about solar energy to potential customers, homeowners, citizens, visitors, students and children. The 2012 campaign will feature events hosted by more than 20 participants from 16 countries, who gathered this week in Prague for the 2nd annual European Solar Days Conference.

Next year’s campaign is being coordinated by ESTIF, a trade group representing the European solar thermal industry. The group actively promotes the use of solar thermal technology for renewable heating and cooling in Europe, and represents 100 members from 19 European countries.

“The European Solar Days are based on the engagement of individuals, citizens, organisations, companies and public institutions all around Europe,” said Pedro Dias, European Solar Days coordinator for ESTIF. “They join efforts to promote solar energy to their fellow European citizens. This is a proven formula, which can be replicated and adopted in different countries.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).