Another stark contrast between electricity and heat has been the number of policies implemented for each: Renewable heating and cooling targets have been set by no more than 48 countries, while 146 have ones for green electricity. “Equating electricity
is leading to complacency,” Rana Adib, Executive Secretary of REN21, is quoted as saying in the press release. “We may be racing down the pathway towards a 100 % renewable electricity future. But when it comes to heating, cooling and transport, we are coasting along as if we had all the time in the world. Sadly, we don’t.”
Capacity added in 2017
Capacity added in 2016
Top five countries based on new additions in 2017
Solar heating and cooling
China, Turkey, India, Brazil, USA
China, USA, India, Japan, Turkey
China, USA, Germany, UK, India
Concentrating solar power
100 MW (1 plant)
Indonesia, Turkey, Chile, Iceland, Honduras
China, Brazil, India, Angola, Turkey
Data taken from the market and technology sections in chapter 3 of the GSR 2018.
Glazed and unglazed collectors added nationally. Last year, the top 20 countries accounted for an estimated 93 % of new solar thermal installations around the world. Table R20 on page 211 shows the numbers relating to this chart.
Source: Global Status Report 2018
The chart above shows the development of the 20 largest solar heating and cooling markets in 2017, with sales growing in Greece, India, Mexico and Turkey, which have no national support schemes but cost-competitive solutions. Their situation is opposite to that of countries such as Germany and Italy, which heavily subsidise solar thermal but whose markets continue to trend downwards, declining by 16 % and 4 % respectively.
In Germany, still the largest market in Europe, the decline was caused by plummeting sales of combi systems. By contrast, 2017 saw record demand for heat pumps used in space heating, with their easy installation appealing to installers and end consumers alike.
Most leading countries defended their positions in the ranking, except Denmark, which disappeared from the list (9th
place in 2016) and made room for Tunisia. 2017 saw just two smaller solar district heating plants being built and three systems expanded, with new capacity in the northern European country amounting to as little as 19.7 MW, or 26,636 m². The reason for the significant decline was that project development requires several years of planning. Endeavours post-2016 have been stalled because the new energy savings regulations
for utilities were signed only at the end of 2016. Consequently, several new projects were started in 2017, but most could not be completed by year end.
Last, here are some encouraging developments described in the GSR 2018, although most are about renewable electricity:
- A record number of new industrial solar heat systems came online in 2017.
- The number of cities where renewable electricity accounted for at least 70 % of the total more than doubled between 2015 and 2017.
- Apart from traditional biomass use, renewables met 10.3 % of global heat demand in 2017.
- An estimated 17 countries generated more than 90 % of their electricity last year by using renewable sources of energy.
- 85 countries, states or provinces have renewable electricity targets above 50 %.
- In 2017, China added more solar PV capacity than the world had installed in 2015.
- 2017 was also a landmark year for CSP, based on the tariffs offered as part of competitive tenders.
Recommended solar heating and cooling chapters and sections:
Solar Heating and Cooling Market and Industry (pp. 103 to 108)
Table R20. Solar Water Heating Collectors and Total Capacity End-2016 and Newly Installed Capacity 2017, Top 20 Countries (p. 211)
Global Overview: Heating and Cooling (pp. 35 to 37)
Policy Landscape: Heating and Cooling (pp. 54 to 55)