Slow down after Boom in Germany?

The crises of the financial markets did not seem to harm the speedy growth of the solar thermal market in Germany. Industry insiders at the conference Forum Solarpraxis in Berlin on the 20th/21st November agreed that the collector area installed in Germany will reach 1.7 to 1.9 million m2 (1.2 to 1.3 GW). This is almost a doubling of the 2007 market volume of 950,000 m2 (665 MW).

German manufacturers are profiting from high demand. The following table shows production figures of selected companies. The figures are partly taken from the latest study by the Suisse Bank Sarasin which was published in November 2008 and from a market survey by the international journal Sun & Wind Energy, whose results will be published in its December issue.

  Total of produced collector area 2007 [m2] Planned total of produced collector area 2008 [m2] Growth
Viessmann Werke 260,000 500,000 92%
BBT Thermotechnik 232,000 500,000 116%
Schüco International 240,000 350,000 46%
Wolf 84,200 180,600 114%
Citrin Solar 35,000 95,000 171%
Rotex Heating Systems 38,800 56,100 45%
Nau Umwelt und Energietechnik 30,000 50,000 67%
Solar Technologie International (STI) 18,000 42,300 135%

A booming industry: Growth rates of selected companies. Production figures include export.

Source: Market studies by the Suisse Bank Sarasin and Sun & Wind Energy.

 

Expectations for the next year seem very unclear. When asked about the market's development, industry representatives were very cautious during the conference in Berlin. Everybody is still aware of the downswing in 2007, when market volume plummeted by 40 %. A few could imagine to achieve another 10 to 15 % growth because incentive conditions are favourable. Others would be happy to simply keep the good result of 2008.

Nobody can foresee the impacts of the financial crises on end consumers. If the industry can convince customers that solar thermal systems are a more trustful investment in 2009 than shares or financial documents, they could continue to benefit from the crisis. This was an advice often heard during discussions at the conference.

More information: World map of solar thermal industry in Sun & Wind Energy 6/2008. To be ordered via b.epp@gmx.de

Solar energy 2008: Study by the Suisse Bank Sarasin of November 2008. To be ordered via Matthias.fawer@sarasin.ch (100 €)

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