Solar Heat Worldwide

This report comprises solar thermal market data from 61 countries covering an estimated 95% of the worldwide market. The remaining 5%of the market were extrapolated and are labeled as “all other countries” in the following sections.

Total installed capacity in operation worldwide by the end of 2014

By the end of 2014, an installed capacity of 410.2 GWth, corresponding to a total of 586 million square meters of collector area was in operation worldwide.

The vast majority of the total capacity in operation was installed in China (289.5 GWth) and Europe (47.5 GWth), which together accounted for 82.1%of the total installed capacity. The remaining installed capacity was shared between the United States and Canada (18.0 GWth), Asia w/o China (10.7 GWth), Latin America (10.0 GWth), the MENA2 countries Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia (6.6 GWth), Australia and New Zealand (6.2 GWth), and Sub-Sahara African countries Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe (1.3 GWth). The market volume of “all other countries” is estimated to amount for 5%of the total installations (20.5 GWth).

The breakdown of the cummulated capacity in operation in 2014 by collector type is 22.1%glazed flat-plate collectors, 71.1%evacuated tube collectors, 6.3% unglazed water collectors, and 0.4%glazed and unglazed air collectors. 

The leading countries in cumulated unglazed and glazed water collector capacity in operation in 2014 per 1,000 inhabitants were Austria (419 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Cyprus (412 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Israel (400 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Barbados (318 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Greece (278 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), the Palestinian territories (275 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Australia (260 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), China (213 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Turkey (162 kWth/1,000 inhabitants) and Germany (158 kWth/1,000 inhabitants). 

New installed capacity worldwide in 2014

In the year 2014, a total capacity of 46.7 GWth, corresponding to 66.7million squaremeters of solar collectors, was installed worldwide.

The main markets were in China (36.7 GWth) and Europe (3.4 GWth), which together accounted for 85.9% of the overall newcollector installations in 2014. The rest of the market was shared between Latin America (1.3 GWth), Asia w/o China (1.0 GWth), the United States and Canada (0.8 GWth), the MENA region represented by Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia (0.5 GWth), Australia (0.5 GWth), and the Sub-Sahara African countries Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe (0.1 GWth). The market volume of “all other countries” is estimated to amount for 5%of the new installations (2.3 GWth).

Compared to the year 2013 the new collector installations worldwide decreased by 15.2%. By contrast, the world market growth in the period 2012/2013 amounted to 1.9%and in the period 2011/2012 to 6.7%. This indicates a trend change. This is the first time a shrinking world market has been observed. Based on data already available for 2015 this trend seems to continue.

From the top 10 markets in 2014 positive market developmentwas reported in Brazil (+4.5%), India (+7.0%), the United States (+0.9%), Mexico (+18.2%) and Greece (+19.1%). The other major solar thermalmarkets within the top 10 countries, namely China (–17.6%), Turkey (–0.8%), Germany (–9.8%), Australia (–21.1%) and Israel (–13.4%) sufferedmarket declines.

LatinAmerica shows themost steady anddynamicupwardtrendof all economic regions. The dominantBrazilian, but also the large Mexican market as well as the evolvingmarkets such as Chile are responsible for the positive growth rates for the sixth year in a row. In 2014 thesemarkets grew by 8.1%.

The breakdown of the new installed capacity in 2014 by collector type is 18.5%glazed flat-plate collectors, 77.9% evacuated tube collectors, 3.5%unglazed water collectors and 0.2%glazed and unglazed air collectors. 

In terms of newinstalled solar thermal capacity per 1,000 inhabitants in 2014, Israel took the lead once again, ahead of China and Palestinian territories(West Bank and Gaza Strip).Due to outstanding achievements in the field of solar district heating in the last couple of years Denmark is ranked fourth in this respect, even ahead ofmature solar thermal markets such as Greece, Turkey and Austria.

Contribution to the energy supply and CO2 reduction

The annual collector yield of all water-based solar thermal systems in operation by the end of 2014 in the 61 recorded countries was 335 TWh (= 1,208 PJ). This corresponds to a final energy savings equivalent of 36.1 million tons of oil and 116.4 million tons of CO2. The calculated number of different types of solar thermal systems in operation was around 101 million.

In 2014, 94%of the energy provided by solar thermal systems worldwide was used for heating domestic hot water, mainly by small-scale systems in single-family houses (68%) and larger applications attached to multi-family houses, hotels, schools, etc. (27%). Swimming pool heating held a share of 4%in the contribution to the energy supply and CO2 reduction and the remaining 2% was met by solar combi-systems. 

Distribution of systems by system type and application

The thermal use of the sun’s energy varies greatly from region to region and can be roughly distinguished by the type of solar thermal collector used (unglazed water collectors, evacuated tube collectors, flat plate collectors, glazed and unglazed air collectors, concentrating collectors), the type of system operation (pumped solar thermal systems, thermosiphon systems) and the main type of application (swimming pool heating, domestic hot water preparation, space heating, others such as heating of industrial processes, solar district heating or solar thermal cooling). 

For unglazed and glazed water collectors, the evacuated tube collector dominated with a 71%share of the cummulated capacity in operation and a 78%share of the new installed capacity. In China, vacuum tube collectors played an important role, and since this was by far the largest market, the worldwide figures tend towards a higher share of this type of solar thermal collector Unglazed water collectors accounted for 6% of the cummulated water collectors installed worldwide and the share tended to decrease. In 2014, the share of unglazed water collectors was 3%of the new installed capacity.

Worldwide, more than three quarters of all solar thermal systems installed are thermosiphon systems and the rest are pumped solar heating systems. Similar to the distribution by type of solar thermal collector in total numbers the Chinese market influenced the overall figures most, and in 2014 90%of the new installed systems were estimated to be thermosiphon systems while pumped systems only accounted for 10%.

In general, thermosiphon systems are more common in warm climates such as in Africa, South America, southern Europe and the MENA region. In these regions thermosiphon systems are more often equipped with flat plate collectors, while in China, the typical thermosiphon system for domestic hot water preparation is equipped with evacuated tubes.

The calculated number of water-based solar thermal systems in operation was approximately 101 million by the end of 2014. The breakdown is 6%used for swimming pool heating, 63%used for domestic hot water preparation in single-family houses and 28%attached to larger domestic hot water systems for multifamily houses, hotels, hospitals, schools, etc. Around 2% of the worldwide installed capacity supplied heat for both domestic hot water and space heating (solar combi-systems). The remaining systems accounted for around 1%and delivered heat to other applications such as district heating networks, industrial processes or thermally driven solar cooling applications.

Compared to the cumulated installed capacity, the share of swimming pool heating was less for new installations (6%of total capacity and 4%of new installed capacity). A similar trend can be seen for domestic hot water systems in single-family homes: 63%of total capacity in operation and 43%of new installations in 2014 make this kind of systems the most common application worldwide, but with a decreasing tendency.

By contrast, the share of large-scale domestic hot water applications grew (28%of total capacity and 50% of new installed capacity). It can be assumed that thismarket segment took over some of themarket shares from both swimming pool heating and domestic hot water systems in single-family homes.
The share of solar combi-systems as well as other applications, such as solar district heating, solar process heat or solar cooling remained at a low level of 3–4%and no real trend can be identified in a global context.

Levelized cost of solar thermal generated heat

Lowest levelized costs for solar thermal generated heat range between ~1 €-ct/kWh for pool heating systems (Australia, Brazil), 2–5 €-ct/kWh for small thermosiphon domestic hot water systems (Brazil, India, Israel, Turkey), 7–8 €-ct/kWh for small pumped domestic hot water systems (Australia, China) and 2–6 €-ct/kWh for large pumped domestic hot water and/or space heating systems (Brazil, China, India, South Africa).

Highest levelized costs for solar thermal generated heat range between ~2 €-ct/kWh for pool heating systems (Canada, Israel), 7–12 €-ct/kWh for small thermosiphon domestic hot water systems (Australia, China, South Africa), 12–20 €-ct/kWh for small pumped domestic hot water systems (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France), 8–14 €-ct/kWh for large pumped domestic hot water systems (Austria, Canada, Denmark, France) and 11–19 €-ct/kWh for small combined hot water and space heating systems (Austria, China, Denmark, South Africa).

Employment and Turnover

Based on a comprehensive literature survey and data collected from detailed country reports, the number of jobs in the fields of production, installation and maintenance of solar thermal systems is estimated to be 730,000 worldwide in 2014.

The worldwide turnover of the solar thermal industry in 2014 is estimated at € 21 billion (US$ 24 billion). 

Development of global solar thermal capacity in operation and energy yields 2000–2015 

Global solar thermal capacity of unglazed and glazed water collectors in operation grew from 62 GWth (89 million square meters) in 2000 to 435 GWth (622 million square meters) in 2015. The corresponding annual solar thermal energy yields amounted to 51 TWh in 2000 and to 357 TWh in 2014.

Solar Heat Worldwide 2016