China’s shift away from residential towards commercial solar thermal applications continues: The collector area of newly installed solar water heaters in single-family buildings declined by 26 % in 2016, whereas the ‘engineering segment’ remained stable last year (see the table below). This segment is comprised of all non-domestic hot water applications, such as space heating and cooling as well as applications in industry and agriculture. Overall, its share in the newly installed collector area went from 61 to 68 %. All figures were taken from the Report on the State of China 's Solar Thermal Industry (July to December 2016), a document drafted by Dezhou-based consultancy Sun’s Visions on behalf of CSTIF, the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation. CSTIF has presented this report – which also includes several development strategies – to the National Energy Board.
Two large industry events in China over the last months have shown that there is great demand for discussion regarding the transformation of the domestic solar heating and cooling market. The Green Business Forum attracted around 1,000 solar thermal stakeholders to Dezhou in Shandong province from 22 to 25 September, and several hundred industry representatives took part in the annual assembly of the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) from 7 to 9 December in Kunming, Yunnan province (see photo). According to the latest CSTIF figures, the solar thermal market experienced a sharp 9 % decline last year from 43.5 million m² to 39.5 million m², which reduced it to 60 % of the size it had had in the peak year of 2013.
Last year’s decline in the Chinese solar thermal market was greater than expected: Statements by the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation during the annual assembly in Suzhou, Jiangsu, in November 2015, indicated that around 43.5 million m² had been newly installed in 2015 – 17 % less than in the previous year. Back in October 2015, solar thermal analyst Hongzhi Cheng expected the market only to drop to 50 million m². The figures gathered by Cheng and his Sun’s Vision team for 2014 had totalled 52.4 million m², which is also a reduction by 18 % compared to the year prior.
Hongzhi Cheng is one of the most experienced solar thermal market researchers in China. Cheng is Deputy Secretary-General at the China Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) based in Beijing and head of The Sun’s Vision located in Dezhou, Shandong province. He can look back at almost 20 years of solar thermal experiences – first by working in the industry and since 2006, by research with his own company, The Sun’s Vision. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about the big transition on the Chinese solar thermal market.
Solar heating and cooling is not really the most transparent sector regarding market and industry figures. There is no global solar heat industry council and companies around the globe are using quite different technologies and supply chains – which is exactly why all entities and brand associations have so far hesitated to publish a worldwide turnover for the solar thermal industry. This news piece by German agency solrico will make the first attempt at assessing the sector’s global turnover, which it estimates at EUR 17.996 billion. The following text will list all of the assumptions and estimations done to get to that number, so that any stakeholder or organisation with additional or different information may contact us to improve the assessment (firstname.lastname@example.org). The chart on the left shows the distribution of newly installed, glazed collector area in 2013, and the chart on the right depicts the regional share in 2013 turnover.
China is not only number one in installed solar thermal power worldwide, but it is also the country quickest to publish the results of current market statistics. Hundreds of industry stakeholders met in the city of Linyi, Shandong province, on 18 and 19 December 2014 to discuss the currently difficult market situation for solar heating and cooling during the annual assembly of the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF). According to the annual market statistics published by The Sun´s Vision from Dezhou, Shandong, newly installed collector area was down by 18 %, from 63.6 million m² (44.5 GWth) in 2013 to 52.4 million m² (36.7 GWth) in 2014. Hongzhi Cheng, Head of Sun´s Vision and Vice President of CSTIF, expects market volume to drop only slightly in 2015, down to 50 million m² (35 GWth). This year’s USD 300 million of export volume was the same as in 2013.
After San Francisco, USA, and Freiburg, Germany, this year’s venue for the International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry is going to be the Chinese capital, Beijing. Researchers from all around the world have been invited to attend the annual scientific conference of the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) between 13 and 15 October 2014. The three-day conference, which will be held at the China National Convention Center (see the photo above), will be jointly organised by German PSE and the China Academy of Building Research (CABR).
When it comes to which Chinese region has the highest number of solar thermal manufacturers, Shandong is second only to Zhejiang. Both are coastal provinces in Eastern China. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Anxiang Chen, Deputy Secretary-General of the Shandong Solar Energy Industry Association and CEO of solar water heater manufacturer Auhua Clean Energy, about the market development in Shandong. The development and implementation of energy-efficient and renewable water heating solutions is the core business of Auhua Clean Energy, a company whose 300 employees work in two factories in Jinan and Rushan, both located in Shandong province. The pie chart below was published by the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) in the Report on the Development of China’s Solar Thermal Industry (2008-2010) and shows the share of solar thermal manufacturers by province (2,800 in total).
In cooperation with the China Association of Rural Energy Industry (CAREI), the China Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) held its annual meeting in Zhuhai, a city in Guangdong Province, on 6 and 7 December. The annual meeting is a two-day conference during which industry representatives talk about market and technology development. One of the key speakers was Zhentao Luo, former Chairman of CSTIF, who presented the 2013 market statistics. According to the preliminary CSTIF data, the newly installed collector area was 66 million m² (46.2 GWth), which means an increase of only 3.3%. The share of replaced collector area was 47 %, so that the total installed collector area increased to 310 million m² (217 GWth).
Prof Guangming Xie is a well-known expert on the solar thermal industry in China and Executive President of the China Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF). He had been a researcher with the Beijing Solar Energy Research Institute (BSERI) before he came to work in leading positions in the industry. Xie presented the latest publication from CSTIF at the Intersolar in Munich in the middle of June: the English-Chinese “Research Report on the Development of the Solar Thermal Industry and its Achievements over 20 years in China (2011-2012)”.
Photo: Bärbel Epp