The first half of this year saw only 41,315 m² of solar thermal collector area installed in Portugal, a decrease of 35% compared to the same period last year. This is the result of a survey which was carried out by the national solar industry association, Apisolar, among solar thermal system suppliers and manufacturers in Portugal. The participating companies cover 65 % of the Portuguese market.
According to Apisolar, the rest of the year will follow the negative trend of the first half of 2012. “We do not expect the economic situation of the country to improve, so that there would be room for substantial changes in the market. Nor do we expect any improvement in the incentive mechanisms for the solar thermal sector,” the association states. This means that the total newly installed area in 2012 would be around 82,631 m2 (58 MWth), Apisolar estimates. In terms of cumulative installed collector area at the end of 2012, the forecast is 958,505 m2 (671 MWth). To view the complete results of Apisolar’s market study, please consult the attached document in Portuguese.
During the first half of this year, the sector’s turnover reached EUR 21.5 million – which corresponds to a specific turnover of 520 EUR/m² of new collector area. The survey also showed which share the different technologies had in the overall newly installed collector area: 22% of the sales were larger pumped solar thermal systems, 35% were residential pumped systems and 43% were thermosiphon systems. The 22 % share is split in a 69 % residential sector share (multi- or single-family houses) and a 39% share for the service sector (pools, hotels, etc).
In 2011, the Portuguese market also dropped a whopping 30%. The financial crisis strongly affected the residential market. The announcement of the 2012 VAT raise (from 13% to 23%), however, led to a spike in sales during the last quarter of the year, making the results, after all, better than expected (127,000 m2).