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GSR 2015

69 02 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT EU countries, up from 216 plants (433 MWth) in 2013.84 Austria, Germany, and Sweden had more than 20 systems each.85 All of Europe’s 11 new plants in 2014 were installed in Denmark, where the market is driven by high taxes for fossil fuels and solar thermal systems are cost-competitive.86 Denmark saw capacity rise 43% in 2014 to 61 plants in 2014 totalling 389 MWth (557,000 m87 ).88 In addition, four existing plants in Europe were enlarged in 2014, including one in Austria and three in Denmark.89 An expanded facility in Vojens, Denmark, became the world’s largest plant (49 MWth) with seasonal storage when it was commissioned in May 2015.90 The still-modest global solar cooling market has grown at an average annual rate exceeding 40% since 2004, and nearly 1,200 systems of all technology types and sizes were installed by 2014.91 While more than 75% of these systems were in Europe, including at least 17 large-scale district systems, use of solar cooling is rising in many regions with sunny dry climates, including Australia, India, Mediterranean islands, and the Middle East.92 One of the market drivers for solar cooling is the potential to reduce peak electricity demand, particularly in countries with significant cooling needs.93 The availability of small (<20 kW) cooling kits for residential use has increased interest in the residential sector in Central Europe and elsewhere, and large- scale systems are gaining appeal due to their more favourable economics.94 Most solar cooling installations range in scale from 15 kW to 500 kW, with systems of 1 MW and larger being installed since 2011.95 In 2014, one of South Africa’s first solar thermal cooling projects was installed in Johannesburg, and the world’s largest installation (3.4 MWth) was completed at a school in the US state of Arizona.96 The latter project was financed by private investors and is operated as an energy service company (ESCO).97 Solar thermal technologies are being used increasingly for industrial applications, providing heat and steam, as well as refrigeration, although their uptake has been limited by relatively high costs, integration challenges, and lack of standardised equipment.98 Major industrial applications include food processing, cooking, and textile manufacturing.99 By late 2014, there were at least 138 plants worldwide totalling 95 MWth (collector area of 136,182 m100 ), and these figures probably miss several plants in China, India and Mexico, where deployment has increased substantially in recent years.101 Solar dryers adapted for drying foods represent a small but growing niche market in many developing countries.102 Solar process heat projects added in 2014 included a fodder pellet facility in Mexico, a kibbutz in Israel, and a manufacturer of fabricated metals products in Portugal. The largest (1,500 m103 ) was installed at a concrete component manufacturing facility in Austria.104 India leads in the use of concentrating solar thermal systems (mostly for cooking).105 The major limiting factor in a number of countries, including some in the MENA region, is the low price of conventional energy, which is still heavily subsidised.106 Although interest is growing around the world, district heating networks, solar air conditioning, and solar process heat for industrial purposes account for only about 1% of global solar thermal capacity.107 There also exists a large untapped potential for new applications such as water treatment and sea water desalination.108 ■■ SOLAR THERMAL HEATING/COOLING INDUSTRY Health of the industry in 2014 depended largely on location. In much of Asia, parts of Africa, and Latin America—particularly Brazil—domestic sales expanded, as did distribution channels, in response to strong demand growth in certain segments.109 By contrast, 2014 was a difficult year for the industry in Europe as well as in Chile, parts of Russia, and the United States.110 In Europe, in order to survive years of declining demand, many small manufacturers have had to optimise cost structures, shift their focus to exports, expand their business profiles, or leave the solar thermal sector.111 Experiences also varied according to the type of solar thermal system. In China, for example, production volumes and sales have increased much faster for flat plate collector manufacturers in recent years, and FPC manufacturers in Brazil, Jordan, and Turkey profited in 2014 from public-sector orders.112 In India, FPCs have faced challenges because evacuated tube collectors have captured a clear edge in the market, and the largest manufacturer at the end of 2014 was an ETC assembler (Supreme Solar).113 Turkey’s three evacuated tube manufacturers, established in response to high import taxes on Chinese evacuated tubes, have experienced a market boom and have plans to become significant exporters, making Turkey the first to compete with China on the world market.114 The top manufacturers of FPCs (based on collector area produced in 2013) were Greenonetec (Austria), Soletrol (Brazil), Prosunpro (China), Five Star (China), Bosch Thermotechnik (Germany), and Ezinç (Turkey).115 The largest ETC manufacturers were Linuo Group, South East Corporation (Sunrain and Micoe brands), and Himin (all China).116 Over the past three years, several companies that specialised in solar thermal FPC systems have dropped from the rankings of the world’s largest manufacturers, having lost market share or left the sector entirely.117 China’s industry was troubled by overcapacity due to weak demand in 2014.118 Even so, China maintained its multi-year lead in the global solar heating industry, producing an estimated 36.7 GWth (52.4 million m119 ) of collectors in 2014.120 China’s industry consists of more than 500 system suppliers (including very small ones), making the market fragmented, but several large players are increasing their market shares through aggressive marketing.121 Export volume remained negligible compared to the industry’s total turnover—at an estimated USD 300 million, about even with 2013.122 In Europe, consolidation continued during 2014.123 The most prominent insolvency was Wagner & Co Solartechnik, a collector producer since 1979, which was purchased by former customer Sanderink Holding (Netherlands).124 Europe also saw a further concentration of turnkey large-scale suppliers; most notable was that VKR Holding purchased Sunmark Solutions (both Denmark) and merged it with the subsidiary Arcon Solar in early 2015.125 Arcon Solar has dominated large-scale solar installations over the past 10 years.126 System quality and prices vary significantly from country to country, and solar heat prices have not fallen as quickly as system prices.127 In Europe, the industry is working to reduce the final price of solar heat, rather than simply hardware prices, by improving technology and the plug-and-play ease of system installation.128 (In China, Israel, and several other countries, hot water from solar systems is already cost-competitive with that produced from fossil fuels.129 ) Innovation efforts also aim to make solar thermal collectors thinner and to make systems more durable and easier to integrate into rooftops.130

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