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How can I get more information about the sector?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Visit national or international fairs and conferences on solar thermal technology. Please check the calendar of events on the website. Subscribe to an international journal containing news and market surveys on solar thermal technology. Become a member of a national or international industry association. Please check the directory of this website.

Is there enough sunshine in all regions?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Solar thermal systems produce hot water whether the system is installed in Sweden, Germany, India, Tunisia or South America. The annual yield depends on the application (domestic hot water, pool heating, space heating), the local climatic conditions and system dimensioning (high or low solar fraction).

What can solar thermal technology be used for?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs.

Are there any disadvantages to using solar energy?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Solar thermal systems most probably have higher "first costs" than other kinds of heating systems. Also, the energy is not available 24 hours a day and not sufficiently during all seasons of the year. That means that storage systems like water tanks and backup systems are a must in all solar thermal installations.

What are the advantages of solar thermal water heating systems at a personal level?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Most importantly: The energy of the sun is endless, sufficient and free of charge. Using solar water heating technology makes you independent of the rapidly increasing fossil fuel prices. It saves customers energy, money, is clean and safe and it is a long-living technology with life cycles of 25 years and more.

Which are the big players of the industry?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

You have fast-growing independent producers here which focus on the production of solar thermal components only. Some of these companies are more than 30 years old, like the German Wagner & Co, the Israeli Chromagen and the US-American Sun-Earth. But the global market leaders today are newer firms like Greenonetec in Austria, the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturer in the world, which was founded in 1991 (turnover 2008: 117 million Euro). Find the ranking of the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturers here.

What are the long-term future perspectives of the sector worldwide?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

The international solar thermal market is growing constantly but with ups and downs. According to the annual study "Solar Heat Worldwide" the newly installed collector area globally grew accordingly:

2004: 12.6 % 

2005: 10.3 %

2006:  22 %

2007: 8.7 %

The future perspective depends very much on the market development in China. In the last seven years the solar thermal market in the People’s Republic increased at an average rate of 21 % per year.

Which are the main market drivers?

Submitted by admin on May 5, 2008

Generally speaking, you can differentiate between naturally growing markets and incentive driven markets. In the former, low-cost solar water heaters are already an economic alternative for households to produce hot water instead of using fossil fuels or electricity. Some examples are: China, which is the biggest solar thermal market in the world, Cyprus which has one of the highest solar thermal capacities in operation per capita in the world, and Turkey, which is the third biggest market in the world.

Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap up to 2020

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2008

Published in January 2007, by EREC (European Renewable Energy Council), the document shows the ambitions of the European Renewable Energy Industry to reach the EU targets for 2020 for different sectors, including electricity, heating & cooling, and biofuels.
It provides roadmaps for each sector, predicting its development and the conditions under which progress can be made.

Concentrating Solar Power from Research to Implementation

Submitted by admin on April 22, 2008

This document from 2007, released by the European Commission, refers projects, financed under the 6th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6), to boost the use of solar power technologies in Europe, as a part of the EU’s goal of achieving 20% share of renewable energies inits overall energy consumption by 2020 and a minimum 10% share of biofuels in overall EU transport petrol and diesel consumption by 2020. Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) is a clean energy that can help the EU to meet this 20% goal.

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