Estimated Global Solar Thermal Turnover in 2013: around EUR 18 billion
 Estimated Global Solar Thermal Turnover in 2013: around EUR 18 billion

Estimated Global Solar Thermal Turnover in 2013: around EUR 18 billion

TurnoverSolar heating and cooling is not really the most transparent sector regarding market and industry figures. There is no global solar heat industry council and companies around the globe are using quite different technologies and supply chains – which is exactly why all entities and brand associations have so far hesitated to publish a worldwide turnover for the solar thermal industry. This news piece by German agency solrico will make the first attempt at assessing the sector’s global turnover, which it estimates at EUR 17.996 billion. The following text will list all of the assumptions and estimations done to get to that number, so that any stakeholder or organisation with additional or different information may contact us to improve the assessment ( The chart on the left shows the distribution of newly installed, glazed collector area in 2013, and the chart on the right depicts the regional share in 2013 turnover. 
Source: solrico

The two most relevant associations worldwide are the Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation (CSTIF) and the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), both of which regularly publish market and industry figures: CSTIF during its annual meeting each December and ESTIF in its market report in June presented at Intersolar Europe.





Newly installed collector area in 2013

63.6 million m²

3.05 million m²

21-fold in China

Share of vacuum tubes in collector area newly installed in 2013

91 %

11 %

Eightfold in China

Industry turnover in 2013 (including manufacturing and installation)

RMB 100 billion (EUR 14.4 billion), with RMB 1 = EUR 0.144

EUR 2.3 billion

Sixfold in China

Specific turnover of newly installed collector area

1.572 RMB/m² (around 226 EUR/m²)

754 EUR/m²

Triple the amount in Europe

Market and industry figures of the two major associations
Source: Chinese Solar Thermal Industry Federation and European Solar Thermal Industry Federation 
The relevant solar thermal markets outside of Europe and China are Brazil, Turkey and India.
  • Brazil: According to estimates by DASOL, the Solar Heating Department of the Brazilian Association of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Heating, ABRAVA, the annual turnover of the solar thermal sector amounts to around USD 630 million (including unglazed collectors).
  • India: As per statistics released by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the overall size of the solar thermal market is close to USD 200 million annually.
  • Turkey: According to industry estimates, the average sales price of solar water heating systems on the market, from the most basic products to selectively coated high-end systems including installation, is around 95 EUR/m². Considering the 1.9 million m² of newly installed collector area in 2013, this adds up to around EUR 181 million each year.
The combined turnover of Brazil, India and Turkey reaches EUR 920 million based on an exchange rate of USD 1 = EUR 0.89. Average turnover per newly installed m² of collector area across the three countries is 248 EUR/m². The other 3 % of the glazed collector area installed in 2013 outside of the key countries and regions (China, Europe, Turkey, Brazil and India) is estimated at 1.9 million m². This volume was multiplied by 80 % of the specific turnover of key countries Brazil, India and Turkey and results in 1.9 million m² times 198 EUR/m² = EUR 376 million. The following table shows the relevant figures amounting to a global turnover of EUR 17.996 billion. The total depends very much on the exchange rate with the RMB and the USD. 

Country / region

Turnover (in EUR)



2,300 million



14,400 million



 561 million



178 million



181 million

Industry estimates


 376 million

solrico estimates


17,996 million


More information:

Baerbel Epp

Bärbel Epp is Founder and Director of the German communication and market research agency solrico and editor-in-chief of