Solar energy has a positive image with the general public in Germany and the country leads Europe in terms of both the total installed solar thermal collector surface (2.75 million m2 in 1999) and in annual installation figures (462,800 m2 in 1999). However, when considering the ratio of installed collector surface to number of inhabitants, Germany, with 34.5m2/1,000inhab in 1999, is in fourth position in the EU, well behind Austria (250 m2/1,000inhab in 1999) and Greece (186 m2/1,000inhab in 1999). Although there is considerable willingness to invest in solar thermal systems (some 10% of house owners, i.e. some 1.2 million persons are willing to pay up to 5,000 Euro for a solar water heating system), barriers between potential investors and solar thermal system traders remain. Such barriers are essentially at the level of information, attention and marketing.
There is a need for a means of communication which imparts the message that individual conduct can have an influence in solving environmental problems, and also to launch concrete actions that help achieve the above-mentioned objectives. The nation-wide “Solar-na-klar” campaign was set-up in order to close this gap for one of the most mature renewable energy technologies: solar water heating systems for single and multiple family houses.