Solar thermal market
There are signs that the strong decline reported over the last two consecutive years has come to an halt in 2011, according to the annual solar thermal market statistics published today by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation. However, for a full trend reversal, the industry must develop new market segments and improve price competitiveness. Besides, to meet the 2020 targets, it is now imperative that governments step up their efforts and tap the full potential of the most relevant decentralized emission-free renewable energy source worldwide.
2011 proved to be a year of mixed messages: while overall the European market was flat; at national level market conditions were very diverse. With 2.6 GWth installed in 2011, the total installed capacity in Europe now amounts to 26.3 GWth, generating an estimated 18.8 TWh of solar thermal energy, while contributing to savings of 13 MMt CO2. The solar thermal industry has a key role to play towards achieving the 2020 targets and the economic importance of the sector can no longer be ignored, with a turnover of around 2.6 billion Euros in 2011 and 32 000 people employed full time.
While Germany continues to be the sector’s driving force, in 2011 Poland joined the select group of markets above 140 MWth (200 000 m²) of newly installed capacity. Some markets have been going through a very difficult time, especially in Southern European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal; however, Greece has bucked the trend with a slight market growth.
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