Solar Heat Worldwide

This report comprises solar thermal market data from 60 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 2013

By the end of 2013, an installed capacity of 374.7 GWth, corresponding to a total of 535 million square meters of collector area was in operation worldwide.

The vast majority of the total capacity in operation was installed in China (262.3 GWth) and Europe (44.1 GWth), which together accounted for 82% of the total capacity installed. The remaining installed capacity was shared between the United States and Canada (17.7 GWth), Asia excluding China (10.0 GWth), Latin America (8.7 GWth), the MENA2 countries Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia (6.1 GWth), Australia and New Zealand (5.9 GWth), and Sub-Sahara African countries Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe (1.2 GWth). Themarket volume of “all other countries” is estimated to amount for 5%of the total installations (18.7 GWth).

The breakdown of the cumulated capacity in operation in 2013 by collector type is 22.4% glazed flat-plate collectors, 70.5% evacuated tube collectors, 6.7% 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 2013 per 1,000 inhabitants were Austria  (430 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Cyprus (425 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Israel (377 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Barbados (319 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Greece (271 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), the Palestinian Territories (257 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Australia (252 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), China (194 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), Germany (151 kWth/1,000 inhabitants) and Turkey (136 kWth/1,000 inhabitants).

Newly installed capacity worldwide in 2013

In the year 2013, a total capacity of 55.0 GWth, corresponding to 78.6million squaremeters of solar collectors, was installed worldwide. This means an increase in new collector installations of 1.8%compared to the year 2012. Themainmarkets were in China (44.5 GWth) and Europe (3.6 GWth), which together accounted for87%of the overall new collector installations in 2013. The rest of the market was shared between Latin America (1.2 GWth), Asia excluding China (1.0 GWth), the United States and Canada (0.8 GWth), Australia (0.6 GWth), the MENA region represented by Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia (0.5 GWth) and the Sub-Sahara African countries 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 (2.8 GWth).

The breakdown of the new installed capacity in 2013 by collector type is 17.4% glazed flat-plate collectors, 79.4% evacuated tube collectors, 3.1% unglazed water collectors and 0.1% glazed and unglazed air collectors.

The leading countries in new installed unglazed and glazed water collector capacity in 2013 per 1,000 inhabitants were Israel (38 kWth/1,000 inhabitants), China (33 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Australia (26 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); the Palestinian Territories (19 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Turkey (17 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Austria (15 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Greece (15 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Denmark (13 kWth/1,000 inhabitants); Switzerland (12 kWth/1,000 inhabitants) and Cyprus (11 kWth/1,000 inhabitants).

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 2013 in the 60 recorded countries was 314 TWh (= 1,129 PJ). This corresponds to an energy savings equivalent of 33.7 million tons of oil and 109 million tons of CO2. The calculated number of different types of solar thermal systems in operation was around 111 million.

In 2013, 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 (84%) and larger applications attached to multi-family houses,hotels, schools, etc. (10%).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.

Globally, in 2013 solar thermal contributed about 1.2%to the overall domestic hotwater and space heating demand in buildings.

Distribution of systems by system type and application

The thermal use of the sun’s energy varies greatly from region to region across the globe. It 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, 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 cumulated capacity in operation and a 79% 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 7% of the cumulated water collectors installed worldwide and the share tended to decrease. In 2013 the share of unglazed water collectors was 3%of the new installed capacity.

Worldwide, around 77%of all solar thermal systems installed are thermosiphon systems and 23% 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 2013 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 ofwater-based solar thermal systemsin operationwas approximately 111 million by the end of 2013. The breakdown is6%used for swimming pool heating,80%used for domestic hot water preparation in single family houses, and9%attached to larger domestic hotwater consumers, such as multi-family houses, hotels, hospitals, schools, etc. Around3%of the installed capacity worldwide supplied heat for both domestic hotwater and space heating (solar combi-systems). The remaining systems accounted for about 1%or almost 5million squaremeters of solar thermal collectors and delivered heat to district heating networks, industrial processes or thermally driven solar cooling applications.

Compared to the cumulated installed capacity, the share of swimming pool heating was much less for new installations (6% of total capacity and only 3%of newly installed capacity). To a lesser extent, this is also true for domestic hot water systems in single-family houses (80% of total capacity and 77% of newly installed capacity). However, in 2013 this is still themost common application for solar thermal systems worldwide. The share of large-scale domestic hot water applications tended to increase (9% of total capacity and 17% of newly installed capacity) while the share of solar combi-systems remained at a low level of 3% for both cumulated installations in operation and new installations in 2013.

Development of global solar thermal capacity in operation and energy yields 2000–2014

Global solar thermal capacity of unglazed and glazed water collectors in operation grew from 62 GWth (89 million square meters) in 2000 to 406 GWth (580 million square meters) in 2014. The corresponding annual solar thermal energy yields amounted to 52 TWh in 2000 and to 341 TWh in 2014.