“The Velux Group has decided to discontinue sales of solar thermal collectors during the autumn 2013.” This was the first sentence of a short statement which appeared on the internet pages of the different Velux distribution partners in Europe in the middle of September 2013. It continued with the words: “Even though we stop selling solar thermal collectors, we will continue to provide service and spare parts for maintenance of your Velux solar thermal system.” By closing the chapter on its solar thermal endeavour, the Velux Group will once again focus only on its core business – selling roof and flat roof windows as well as blinds.
“Due to difficult market conditions and unsatisfactory growth perspectives, the sales of Velux solar collectors were well below expectations,” Astrid Unger, Spokesperson for Velux Germany, explains the company’s withdrawal from the market. Velux had tried to offer the roofing trade collectors which match the frame size of Velux roof windows, in order to form a unified roof space. Solar thermal, however, “has remained a niche segment in the roofing trade. The major share of the business goes to plumbers,” Unger says.
Velux’s exit from the solar thermal sector also means the end of its collector manufacturing in Hungary, which Velux started in 2009. Unger confirms that the few remaining employees in the company’s solar thermal division will be offered a job in the window factory at the same Hungarian location. The manufacturing line will be shut down at the end of the year, so that all outstanding orders can still be processed.
Velux belongs to the Danish VKR Holding, whose subsidiary SolarCAP owns some stakes in collector manufacturers from all over the world. According to Unger, Velux investigated the possibility of selling the collectors within the company group. All subsidiaries, however, are autonomous entities and no agreement for such OEM sales could be reached.
“Velux solar collectors have only been a small part of our efforts to promote sustainability,” Unger says. “We also support the Active House principles and are setting up showcase buildings in many European countries.” This means that Velux will be focusing on its two core competencies – light and fresh air - and will continue to offer products with high energy efficiency.