USA Market Statistic: China as Biggest Collector Importer
 USA Market Statistic: China as Biggest Collector Importer

energy information administration

USA Market Statistic: China as Biggest Collector Importer

energy information administration” About 200,000 m2 of flat plate and vacuum tube collectors were shipped throughout the US-American market in 2008, according to the annual statistics of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The annual report was published in January 2010, four months later than announced.

The study counted a total of 213,000 m2 of shipped collector area for solar heating and cooling applications in 2008 (equals to 149 MWth), of which about 12,300 m2 were exported to other countries (download the attached study). The market volume of 200,700 m2 is 40 % higher than the one in 2007 with 143,000 m2 (for 2007 figures, see These figures exclude pool heating and concentrated solar power applications.

The 40 % market growth in 2008 comes close to the 50 % market growth already presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in January of 2009 (see In its press release, the association saw the market volume of solar heating and cooling collectors in 2008 at 229,000 m(equals to 160 MWth). 

market development in the USA” Total shipments of solar thermal collectors, broken down by sector. The figures include exports and imports of collectors, but exclude unglazed collectors and the pool heating sector. Source: EIA, figure: solrico

The figure above shows that most collectors are still intended for the residential sector (yellow column), although the commercial sector is growing (red columns). The big jump in 2007, however, which saw an increase of 152 % in the commercial sector compared to the previous year, could not be repeated in 2008: According to EIA statistics, the commercial sector grew by only 24 % that year.

It is also interesting to look at the export statistics of the EIA study. The number of imported flat plate and vacuum tube collectors almost doubled, from 37,000 m2 in 2007 to about 67,000 m2 in 2008. The number of collectors from China increased from 9,100 m2 in 2007 to 30,000 m2 in 2008. China is therefore the biggest solar thermal importer to the US, followed by Germany and Canada.

And last but not least: The sector of vacuum tube collectors did not grow as fast as the one of flat plate collectors, as can be seen in the following table. This trend was vice versa in EIA´s 2007 market survey (see

  Increase in shipments 2008, compared to 2007
Flat plate collectors 48%
Vacuum tube collectors 35%
Integrated storage collectors / thermosiphon 39%

Source: EIA


More information:
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
Energy Information Administration (EIA):

Baerbel Epp

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