The German solar thermal industry rides roller coaster. After a 40 % decrease in 2007 and a 120 % increase in 2008, the outlook for this year still remains foggy. Can we again reach the 2008 market volume of 2.1 million m2? The sector says we can! This is one of the results of a survey among manufacturers, wholesalers and importers, conducted by the German magazine Solarthemen.
Almost half of the managers expect a growth rate of 0 to 10 % in 2009. Only 1 out of 8 reckons with a declining market volume. The authors of the survey consider the low price of oil and the negative effect of the financial crises at the end consumer level to be reasons why optimism in the German sector sounds so cautiously.
The interviewed solar thermal companies are optimistic in the long run. 50 % assume the market to grow by 10 to 20 % over the next five years. 33 % even count on a 20 to 40 % increase until 2014. 7 % believe in a growth rate of 40 to a 100 %. The interrogators wrote to 130 companies and received 42 filled out questionnnaires back for analyses.
The companies were also asked to rate the support policy of the German government. The rebate programme MAP received a pretty average grade – a 2.2 of a scale between 1 and 6. The Renewable Energies Heating Law of last year is rated at 2.8. The majority of the questioned managers, however, sees the byelaw as a very important political instrument. But every third is convinced that the renewable heating law is not sufficient for the solar thermal sector. The majority answered the following question with Yes: “Should the law be extended to cover existing buildings?” So far, the law is only valid for newly-built residential, commercial and public buildings.