Denmark aims to become the global laboratory for clean-tech solutions. Today there are already close to a thousand companies in Denmark actively working in the clean-tech field, employing 60,000 people. With countries now investing in a low carbon future, the Danes are leading the way with sustainable wind energy and now with large scale solar thermal plant installations.
With the sun an infinite and renewable source of clean energy, Danish company SUNMARK has been offering solar thermal solutions for over 22 years and now has an international reach with projects in Vietnam, Thailand and Holland.
The reason the Danes are now a world leader in this area, is partly due to the long-term public subsidy of solar energy solutions, which dates back to 1979. However in 2001, the Danish government stopped subsidies, which helped created a positive effect on the industry. It pushed forward a dedicated effort to optimize solar panels of the highest possible quality, in order to improve return on investment, making solar thermal energy competitive without subsidies.
This effort proved to be a success as proven by the Marstal project on the Danish island of Ærø. The world’s biggest solar thermal energy plant has shown that there is an alternative solution to the fossil fuel based methods for providing heat. On the outskirts of the town are 18,000 square meters of solar panels, which provide all if not most of the household’s hot water and heating needs.
SUNMARK was responsible for the installation and is in charge of maintenance at this massive solar thermal plant which thanks to EU grants is now being expanded.
With prices predicted to increase for traditional energy resources and government concerns about relying on energy from politically unstable areas, the benefits of this renewable energy, with a fixed price for more than 25 years, makes solar thermal energy an attractive investment opportunity.
Exports of clean tech solutions are already playing an ever increasing and ever important role in overall production and exports. Exports of energy technologies and equipment accounted for approximately 12% of total Danish goods in 2009. It is estimated that currently the clean-tech sector contributes 3% to the GDP (gross national product) of Denmark.