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Group Of Leading Figures Are Driving Energy Transformation

Press Release, Berlin, 10 December 2012

A Diverse Group Of Leading Figures Are Driving The Energy Transformation In Europe

Seven winners were presented with the European Solar Prize 2012 in Berlin on 7 December 2012. The recipients came from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. EUROSOLAR, the European Association for Renewable Energy awards the annual European Solar Prize in cooperation with KfW Bankengruppe. 2012 marks the 19th year in which the European Solar Prize is presented to towns and municipalities, enterprises, local societies, architects and private individuals to reward innovative projects and initiatives and the commitment of renewable energy pioneers.

Prof. Peter Droege, EUROSOLAR President, said: "The European Solar Prize is given by EUROSOLAR since 1994 in recognition of outstanding commitment to the utilization of renewable energy. Today's prize recipients are important, innovative and successful leaders in their respective countries, and models for a renewable energy-based Europe, a climate-stable, energy sustainable and a socially just, democratic world. In particular they demonstrate that all parts of society contribute to the transformation to a fully renewable energy reliant society." About 200 guests attended the award ceremony at the Berlin branch of KfW Bankengruppe. Peter Droege, EUROSOLAR President, Werner Oerter, Head of SME Division of KfW Bankengruppe and the international embassies in Berlin, expressing appreciation of the accomplishments of the prize recipients from their countries, handed out the trophies and award certificates.

Werner Oerter, Head of SME Division of KfW Bankengruppe, emphasized: "The structural conditions for renewable energy are undergoing massive change and neither Germany nor Europe are energy islands. Quite to the contrary, the different sources from which energy is derived, markets and energy prices are increasingly reciprocally impacting one another across the globe. In this ever more swiftly evolving environment the prizewinners are exemplary role models in the expansion of renewable energy."

Recognized through the European Solar Prize in the category "Towns/Municipalities, council districts and public utilities" this year: Zagreb, Karlovac and Krapina-Zagorje counties and the city of Zagreb (Croatia) for their sustainable financing model, rolled out to facilitate investment into solar power for the citizens, and put into practice by the North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency. Meanwhile, the popular campaign has also been adopted by other counties and towns throughout Croatia.

Recognized through the European Solar Prize in the category "Owners or operators of renewable energy installations" this year: Umwelt Arena (Switzerland) for being more than energy sufficient, by 203 %. Thanks to the integrated photovoltaic installation combined with innovative building technology the Umwelt Arena nearly produces twice the amount of energy than it consumes. Thereby, the energy plus building shows in an exemplary manner how architecture, aesthetics and ecology can optimally blend.

Recognized through the European Solar Prize in the category "Local or regional associations/organisations" this year: The Spanish energy cooperative Som Energia, for combining in an exemplary way the cooperative idea, citizens commitment and local energy generation from renewable sources. Several solar power installations and the first citizen-owned biogas plant in Spain have already been built. The goal is to produce enough electricity to meet 100 % of the members’ consumption.

Presented with the European Solar Prize in the category "Solar architecture and urban planning" this year: Paris-based architect Silvio d’Ascia (Italy, France) as well as the International Building Exhibition IBA Hamburg and research group Prof. Dieter D. Genske, Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences (Germany).

Silvio d’Ascia received the European Solar Prize for the solar architectural design for the new Porta Susa train station in Turin. The solar canopy with an installed capacity of 600 kW represents a fine example of how public architecture and photovoltaic technology can be combined. The central location strongly reinforces public awareness of the solar potential of cities.

In their 'Energy Atlas' the International Building Exhibition IBA Hamburg and Prof. Genske from Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences and his research group document a spatial development strategy for transforming the way energy is generated and used by the Wilhelmsburg district in Hamburg. In the Energy Atlas the city is devised as a renewable power plant and sustainable concepts and projects for a future, climate-friendly metropolis are being developed.

Recognized through the European Solar Prize in the category "Transport and mobility" this year: Europa Studio Ltd. (Hungary) for their electric car charging point and photovoltaic installation appearing at a conventional service station, functioning as a spur for the development of solar charging infrastructures extending throughout public space. The project serves to create awareness and places visible emphasis on the necessary switch towards using electric drives.

Presented with the special achievement prize for individual commitment this year: Franz Niessler (Austria). For half a century, Franz Niessler has been tireless in the fight to achieve his vision of a sustainable energy supply based on regional and renewable resources. He and other supporters created the ‘Wiener Solarstammtisch’, a well-attended, internationally renowned monthly meeting in Vienna, set up for the exchange of information and experience regarding solar energy subjects. Franz Niessler is widely recognized, in Austria and internationally, for his contributions in pioneering solar energy.

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