Europe Will Not Meet 20% Renewable Energy Target by 2020

Jul 27, 2011   //   by admin   //   Press Releases  //  3 Comments

Europe will not be able to meet its obligation to supply 20% of its energy from renewable energy by 2020, states John Hollick, CEO of SolarWall Europe, Sarl. and Chairman of the Solar Air Heating World Industries Association (SAHWIA) due to an error in definition made by the European Parliament.

The operations of buildings – heating, powering and cooling them – account for the largest source of GHG emissions, which helps to explain the rationale for the European Union’s 20% Renewable Energy Target.
In an inexplicable turn of events, Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive has actively excluded solar air heating from its list of approved solar technologies, despite the fact that it addresses the largest usage of building energy in many countries, which is indoor space and process heating.

The exclusion is even more perplexing given that solar air heating technologies produce the fastest ROI of any solar technology and have been widely used in countries and applications around the world, including a very strong concentration in Canada and the USA, for the past 20 years for clients such as Sainsbury, Auchan, Wal-Mart, Ford, Jaguar/Land Rover, Toyota, and the United States Military.

The error came to light when the UK government recently introduced its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which specifically excluded solar air heating. When the omission was brought to the attention of Greg Barker, Minister of State for Green Energy including Heat and RHI, his department responded with: “The primary objective of the RHI is to encourage the installation of renewable heating equipment and generation of renewable heat in order to meet the UK’s share of the EU 2020 renewable energy target. Therefore, the RHI will only include technologies which the European Commission considers to be renewable under the RED.”

The implication is that the UK and the rest of will be unable to meet their 20% Renewable Energy Target by 2020 because they have no mechanism in place now to target space heating in the commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.

As well, solar electric (PV) and solar water heating systems are considerably more expensive and produce less energy in comparison to solar air heating systems, so the decision to exclude a solar energy technology that is significantly more cost-effective for end user clients is difficult to understand, especially in an era of tight budgets and fiscal restraint.

It also contradicts the stated objectives of the UK’s RHI: “We need to work hard to remove the barriers holding back take-up…This support can help drive take-up of renewables now, stimulate the renewables industry, encourage further innovation and ultimately bring down the cost of renewable heating.”

Unfortunately the RHI will do the opposite. “Viable solar air heating systems are being excluded in lieu of more expensive water base heating systems just because they are on the “list”. As well as stifling innovation and preventing the widespread uptake in solar heating, this decision will ensure that the UK will be unable to meet their stated renewable energy targets because they are relying on expensive technologies that don’t address one of the largest usages of energy” states Hollick.

About Solar Air Heating World Industries Association: SAHWIA is the industry association representing the companies engaged in the manufacturing, marketing, installation and sales of solar air heating technologies across Europe and in North America.  Its mandate is to promote public awareness on the benefits, applications, and necessity of solar air heating, as well as to help develop the government policies and programs required to support and accelerate the widespread use of solar air heating throughout the world.  For more information, visit

3 responses to “Europe Will Not Meet 20% Renewable Energy Target by 2020”

  1. {I am a general contractor in Texas, I am currently designing a environmentally friendly home for myself and young family to live in. I am viewing my options on electricity generation, i.e PV with battery and invertor, bio diesel generators, solar powered stirling engine, possibly offsetting solar power with wind. |
    There are many guides out there on how to build your own solar air heater, but the truth is they don’t do a very good job at explaining what needs to be done, especially if you’re not that handy |
    Many people don’t know that solar air heating is the most cost-effective form of solar energy, and that many countries have made it almost mandatory for new buildings to be equipped with solar air heaters.|
    I just built my own solar air heater, and IT IS THE BOMB! It’s only a complement, but it really complemented main heating systems, and it saved me a lot of cash – while doing something green|
    Really informative article, wish I stumbled upon it earlier; still, better late then never. Keep up the good work ! |
    THE most cost effective solar energy technology is solar air heating – and it’s perhaps the easiest to apply as well. I only wish more people knew about this.

  2. Green Living says:

    We have a green related website and are looking for partners, both for content and for backlinking. Our site is: (Greener-GY, not Green Energy for link reference) Please check us out, we are always looking for green content and will post and promote any relevant content mailed to us to our many daily visitors. You will get a backlink from all published content. We also submit all content to numerous social media and social bookmarking sites, helping you to see more traffic. Please link to us if you are able.Feel free to contact me anytime via my site or email as I’m on the computer often. Thanks again

  3. Andy Goldman says:

    It came to as a surprise. I have written an article about solar air heating,
    and i wa planning to write a second one.
    do they give reasons for excluding it from the 2020 program?

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  • Conserval Engineering Inc. solar air heaters for the commercial and industrial buildings, inventor of the SolarWall transpired solar collector, pioneer in the solar air heating industry
  • Solar Air Heating World Industries Association: The international trade association to promote the use of solar air heating. Policy info on how to craft renewable heating support programs to achieve GHG reduction targets or other environmental goals.
  • The CA Group Ltd. (UK) Solar air heating system manufacturer and supplier. One of the premier metal roofing and cladding systems manufacturers, contractors and suppliers for the industrial, commercial, public sector markets.
  • YourSolarHome For residential solar air heating applications

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