Press Release: Solar Heating Saves Over 79 Million Tons of CO2 Annually

Gleisdorf, Austria 8 July 2014. The International Energy Agency, Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) released their latest statistics on worldwide solar heating and cooling. With a growth of 9.4% in 2012, the installed capacity of solar collectors reached 269 GWth. The collectors provided 228 TWh of solar thermal energy, thus saving 79 million tons of CO2 emissions.

With 228 TWh produced in 2012, solar heating and cooling is second only to wind amongst the 'new' renewables”, says Ken Guthrie, chairman of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. “And while China remained the market leader in new installations per capita, Australia and Israel followed closely behind.”

The IEA SHC annual statistics, Solar Heat Worldwide, provide data from 58 countries, representing more than 63% of the world's population and over 95% of the global solar thermal market. The vast majority of the total 2012 capacity was in China (180.4 GWth) and Europe (42.8 GWth), which together accounted for 83% of the total capacity.

The global market growth in 2011/2012 was primarily driven by the large markets in India (+44.4%), %), Brazil (+11.8%), China (+10.9) and the United States (+2.7%).

Most (87%) of the solar systems provide domestic hot water only. However, in some countries, combisystems, which provide hot water and space heating, have become a major part of the market. Industrial applications, district heating and air conditioning, too, are all growing solar thermal applications. Taken together, combisystems and other applications beyond domestic hot water reached 13% of installed systems in 2012.

In terms of technology, evacuated tube collectors are the clear market leader accounting for 82% of the newly installed capacity in 2012.  This is driven by the dominance of the Chinese market.  In China, 86% of all new installations are evacuated tube collectors while in Europe it is the opposite with 86% being flat plate collectors.

“It is often forgotten that 47% of the world’s energy demand is for heating”, reminds Ken Guthrie.” Solar heating and cooling offers a renewable supply of thermal energy and can be applied anywhere in the world. In many regions, solar has been cost-competitive for years. People use it because it works and it is relatively inexpensive”.

Further information: 

About the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC):

  • The Programme was established in 1977.
  • Its objectives are co-operative research, development, demonstration and exchange of information regarding solar heating and cooling systems.
  • 20 countries, the European Union and four organizations are IEA SHC members.
  • The research topics of the current 12 projects range from general topics, such as “Solar Resource Assessment and Forecasting”, system research, such as “Large Solar Thermal Systems” to market support and integration topics such as “Solar Rating and Certification” “and Solar Energy in Urban Planning”.
  • Additional information: 

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