The solar thermal collector capacity in operation worldwide at the end of 2009 equalled 172.4 gigawatt thermal (GWth). Between 2004 and 2009, the annually installed glazed water collector area worldwide almost tripled, and the worldwide average annual growth rate between 2000 and 2009 was 20.8%. The market has seen a major shift, with very high growth rates in China, where capacity now amounts to 101.5 GWth. Other significant markets are in Europe (32.5 GWth) and the United States and Canada (15.0 GWth). In 2009, the global market grew by 25.3%, with 36.5 GW of newly installed capacity. Of that new capacity, 80.9% was installed in China (29.4 GWth) and 10% (3.7 GWth) in Europe. The IEA “Energy-efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Equipment” roadmap projects that solar thermal capacity in the building sector could increase by more than 25 times to reach 3740 GWth in 2050. Whereas the most common application of solar thermal collectors today is in the building sector, applications in solar (thermal) cooling and industrial process heat are very promising.
Related topic: Renewables