Brazil third largest solar heat market
 Further growth expected in Brazil – the third largest solar heat market globally

Further growth expected in Brazil – the third largest solar heat market globally

Brazil was the third largest solar thermal market in the world after China and India in terms of newly installed collector area in 2023. The Brazilian industry reported sales of 1.83 million m2 of glazed and unglazed collectors (1,281 MW) – a plus of 2.8 % compared with 2022. The providers of solar thermal systems had actually expected an increase in collector sales of 16 % for 2023, but the new law encouraging the use of solar water heaters in homes (PL3492/2023) has been delayed. This is data from the annual surveys carried out by the Brazilian solar thermal industry association ABRASOL. You find the market report here. Six long-term members of ABRASOL left the association and founded a new association ABRSolar in September 2022. Its aim is to promote the combination of solar thermal energy and photovoltaics for homeowners.

“We have 30 manufacturers as members of ABRASOL, which accounts for approximately 85 % of the solar water heater production in Brazil”, confirmed Danielle Johann, Executive Director of ABRASOL. This year again, all of these members received a questionnaire asking about the collector area sold in the previous year.

ABRASOL and ABRSolar do not cooperate to prepare the market study. ABRSOL extrapolates the sales figures. “In addition to the manufacturers, our association has expanded its activities in recent years to include installers, designers and resellers, further improving its market vision”, added Johann.

According to ABRASOL´s market statistics, unglazed collectors for swimming pools accounted for 47 % of the total market and saw an increase of 5 %. Flat plate collectors — 51 % of total sales — and remained more or less stable. Vacuum tube collectors remained at 2 % of the total market volume.

ABRASOL´s market survey predicts further market growth of 12 % for 2024, counting on the law PL3492/2023, which came into force at the end of 2023. The bill stipulates that the federal government will define locations where solar water heaters are mandatory within the social housing Project Minha Casa, Minha Vida. The bill was discussed in the senate, but the locations were not yet defined. The justification for the law states that electric showers – the usual way of heating water- are one of the biggest problems in the Brazilian electrical system, representing around 7% of the country’s electrical energy consumption.

Brazil third largest solar heat market
Combination of solar water heaters and photovoltaic systems in a residential area in Brazil Photos: ABRSolar

Promoting a useful technology partnership between solar thermal and solar PV

“ABRSolar is the voice of joint action in the solar thermal and solar photovoltaic energy sector, promoting the application of these technologies in a harmonious, balanced and cost-effective way.” This is how Marcelo Mesquita, General Secretary of ABRSolar, describes the goals of the new association. The six solar thermal manufacturers that left ABRASOL to found ABRSolar are Arksol, Enalter, Heliodin, Solarem, Soletrol and Solar Minas. They have been joint by other installation companies and project developers that became member to support this great mission of combining the use of these two solar technologies.

Mesquita describes the “interesting technology partnership” as follows: First of all, water heating for showers and swimming pools accounts for the highest proportion of the energy bill. Solar water heaters are therefore the most efficient solution. However, this type of use presents restrictions regarding the storage of hot water for a longer period and the provision of electricity to the home owners. A well-designed combined system of PV and solar thermal will not only serve the home’s electrical appliances but also include an energy reserve to supply.

Brazil third largest solar heat market
One of the very few solar industrial heat plants in Brazil. Since December 2023, 1,150 m2 of evacuated flat plate collectors provide heat at up to 85 °C to a chocolate milk production plant of PepsiCo Brazil in Feira de Santana, near the coast in the state of Bahia. Photo: TVP Solar

Solar industrial heat needs further support

Solar process heat accounts for only a very small proportion of the newly installed collector area in Brazil. In 2023 ABRASOL reported a 3 % share of solar thermal systems in the industrial sector, mostly used for providing hot water for workers’ showers and kitchens.

The association continually seeks contact with the government to point out that there needs to be funding for this area as industrial customers demand a very short payback period. The February edition of ABRASOL´s newsletter reports on a meeting at the Ministry of Industry and Trade Development (MDIC). ABRASOL’s board of directors emphasized the importance of using solar thermal systems in industry, stressing that more investment is needed, with the creation of credit lines to finance the purchase and installation of equipment as well as publicising solar thermal systems in the federal government’s media and making funds available from the national utilities’ energy efficiency plans to implement solar thermal plants in various industries.

Websites of organizations mentioned in this news article
Brazilian market report 2023:

Bärbel Epp

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