The market for solar thermal systems (STS) in Europe has witnessedsignificant developments at all levels in the last four years,according to a recent research report from Frost & Sullivan.
Policy-makers,market participants and end users have shown a keen interest in STS,ensuring a high growth potential. Due to its tremendous long-termgrowth prospects, this market has attracted several new participantsthat are playing a central role in promoting the industry.
Frost& Sullivan says that the European STS market earned revenues ofover 958.9 million euros in 2008 and estimates this total to reach 2.2billion euros in 2014. The technologies covered in this researchinclude passive solar thermal systems and active solar thermal systems.
"Currently,the key driver for the market in Europe is government support for STSin the form of financial subsidies, tax credits and regulatoryreforms," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Hammam Ahmed. "Themarket for STS is highly responsive to fluctuations in the provision ofgovernmental support."
For instance, the Italian marketwitnessed strong growth levels following increased government subsidiesfor STS. On the other hand, the German market declined significantly asa direct result of a temporary disruption to these subsidies andrecovered as soon as they became available again, Frost & Sullivannotes.
High growth in the STS market, particularly over the lastfour years, has attracted several new participants that are promotingthe industry and making STSs accessible to a wider customer base.
Costis the primary hurdle confronting the STS market, the report adds.Despite the financial incentives that solar thermal installationsreceive, the overall price is still high and the recoup period can goup to 20 years in some regions.
Additionally, an STS is only acomplementary alternative and not a substitute for a traditional hotwater system. Therefore, it is not a viable investment option for mostend users, especially in countries where conventional energy prices arelow.
"In many countries, particularly in northern Europe, thesolar yield can be as little as 40 percent," explains Ahmed."Additionally, the up-front cost of a solar thermal system continues tobe expensive."
Companies should work on developing low-cost andeffective solar thermal systems, particularly in the current economicconditions in Europe, Frost & Sullivan says. On the whole, withescalating competition, both manufacturers and installers will beforced to reduce prices and the overall price of STS will go down.
SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan
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