CLIFTON HILL, Australia — The International Energy Agency, Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) released the 2016 edition of its report on the global status of the solar thermal heating and cooling market. As the 2014 solar thermal market felt the impact of slowing markets in China and Europe, the largest world markets, growth was seen in two important areas — large-scale solar thermal systems and solar heat in industrial processes. And, solar heating and cooling still remains by far the solar technology with the largest total capacity (435 GWth) compared to PV (227 GWth) and solar thermal power (5 GWth).

“It’s important to remember that 47 percent of the world’s energy demand is for heating,” said Ken Guthrie, chairman of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Collaboration Programme, “so the huge potential for solar heating and cooling will continue to expand as already seen with many large-scale applications, solar district heating, solar heat in industrial processes, and solar cooling.”

Guthrie added, “A new addition to this year’s report is data on solar thermal cost and levelized costs of heat (LCOH). This new data is valuable because it analyzes economic performance indicators and cost ranges at the system level in major solar thermal markets worldwide.”

Solar Heat Worldwide includes data from 61 countries, representing more than 63 percent of the world’s population and over 95 percent of the global solar thermal market.

The vast majority of the total capacity at the end of 2014 was in China (289.5 GWth) and Europe (47.5 GWth), which together accounted for 82 percent of the total capacity, and thus significantly impacted the global market as their markets saw a decline between 2013 and 2014 of -18 percent and -3 percent, respectively. From the top 10 markets in 2014 positive growth was reported from Greece (19.1 percent), Mexico (18.2 percent), India (7 percent), Brazil (4.5 percent), and the United States (0.9 percent).

Most (94 percent) of the solar systems installed provide domestic hot water (small-scale and large-scale systems). However, megawatt-scale solar thermal applications for district heating and solar heating and cooling in the commercial and industrial sector is a growing market. The two largest solar thermal systems are in Denmark and supply heat to district heating networks. The two largest solar cooling systems are in Singapore and the United States. And, the world’s largest solar process heat system is installed in Chile at a copper mine.

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Publication date: 7/7/2016

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