The solar thermal heating market is forecast to reach huge growth in the coming years as policy pushes renewable space and water heating up the agenda.
European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) president Olivier Drücke said that in 2008, solar thermal heating and cooling solutions gained favor in more and more countries.
He said, "The solar thermal market in the EU and Switzerland grew by over 60% to 3.3 GWth of new capacity, that is 4.76 million m2 of collector area."
Sounds impressive but it is still a minuscule amount of the total power used. However, from little acorns tall trees do grow and, as in other countries, once the benefits of solar heating are clearly seen, the market takes off.
The latest ESTIF annual statistics on European solar thermal markets show that while demand for solar thermal technologies increased strongly in Spain, Italy and France, the biggest push came from the German market, which more than doubled from 0.7 GWth to 1.5 GWth of newly installed capacity in 2008.
Although led by Europe in terms of technology development, in terms of volume, global solar thermal is to a large extent driven by China which is the biggest solar thermal market worldwide. Three out of four collectors are produced and installed in the People’s Republic. Its national market grew by a constant rate of 28% in recent years. The newly installed capacity in 2008 was approximately 21 GWth — 16 times greater than the European market as a whole. But it is still much less than 5% of the total power used.
Renewable Energy World covers the whole issue in great detail. The article is by Bärbel Epp who is from solrico – Solar Market Research & International Communication, based in Bielefeld, Germany.