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European Solar Days II (ESD II)

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The European Solar Days II project aimed at raising European consumers' awareness about the potential and benefits of intelligent energy solutions, especially for solar energy - solar thermal heating and cooling and photovoltaic electricity production. A broad awareness-raising campaign initiated in Austria in 2002 has been replicated successfully in over 20 European countries. The basic strategy of the concept was to mobilise citizens and different entities (municipalities, NGOs and others) to organise events dedicated to the sun as a source of energy and its use.The wide range of events drew the attention to the potential of solar energy and helped inform potential consumers on how they can apply solar energy in their homes. Therefore, the European Solar Days actively contributed to increasing the use of renewable energies and to reduce CO2 emissions. The ESD campaigns involved decision makers in organising, supporting or even just participating in events and, therefore, engaged them into a more active public action towards the promotion of public awareness and the uptake of solar energy.

Results

  • In 2013, events within the European Solar Days campaign were taking place in 21 countries. In 2013 more than 6000 events were organised attracting more than 500.000 visitors. All national consortium partners successfully adopted and implemented the social marketing concept of the European Solar Days in their country; they developed partnerships and achieved a broad dissemination on the campaign (high number of partners and networks).
  • The project generated a strong dynamic towards the use of renewable energy, in particular solar energy. It created a positive synergy, where participants in events got to know better the benefits of solar energy, adopting and/or advocating its use, within and beyond the European Solar Days campaign. ESD encouraged a strong interaction between the participants and the organisers of ESD events, both at local and at European level, using the internet and social media.
  • ESD gathered important stakeholders for the promotion of solar energy, from the industry (manufacturers, distributors, installers, planners) to media and decision makers (municipalities, regions), involving them in the promotion and support of the Solar Days.
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Lessons learned

  • Mentorship: all partners can learn equally form each other. This means that the more experienced ones also learn from the new countries in the project and it is up to everyone to explore project synergies, sharing their experiences, providing/requesting support to/from other partners. This means that everyone is simultaneously both a mentor and an apprentice. The mentorship process should be constantly involving all the participants, thus avoiding that each partner focuses only on its national campaign.
  • Synergies in diversity: there are no optimal solutions for all the countries and for all times. Different options may work differently in different countries. Furthermore, solutions need to be re-designed/developed over time, adapting to new realities, such as the financial crisis or degrees of enthusiasm towards renewable energy in a given country.
  • Exploring multiplying effects: partnerships with potential multipliers (industry associations, network of municipalities, etc.) are crucial for the long term sustainability of the action.
  • Media work needs permanent "re-filling" Interest from the media decreases over the time; a careful fine-tuning of the main campaign message and creative ways on how to attract the general media should be a key part of the campaign planning. Involving and attracting already existing information campaigns on solar or on sustainability, at both national and European levels, is possible and fruitful.  
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

European Solar Thermal Industry Federation
Belgium
Contact point: 
Name: 
Mr Pedro Dias
Tel: 
+ 32 (0)2 546 19 38
Name: 
Pedro Dias
Tel: 
+32 (0) 2 546 19 38

Budget

Key documents

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In brief

Duration:
01/09/2010 to 31/08/2013
Contract number: 
IEE/09/777

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