ESKILSTUNA, Sweden, May 31, 2006 (Refocus Weekly) Solar thermal systems around the world displace the combustion of 9.3 billion litres of oil and reduce CO2 emissions by 25.4 megatonne (Mt) each year.
The global installed capacity by the end of 2004 was 98,416 MW of thermal energy, according to the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Program in its annual report, ‘Solar Heat Worldwide: Markets & Contributions to the Energy Supply 2004.’ That capacity includes 40,299 MW-th of evacuated tube water collectors, 34,184 MW-th of glazed water and 23,117 MW-th of unglazed water collectors, as well as 641 MW-th of unglazed air and 175
MW-th of glazed air collectors.
The world’s solar thermal sector has grown ten times faster than the overall economy over the past five years, and the annual yield (energy produced) for solar thermal collectors in 2004 was 58,117 GWh, equivalent to 9.3 billion litres of oil. The statistics are based on data collected from 41 countries, representing 57% of the world’s population and 90% of the solar thermal market.
Total collector area was 139 million m2 in 25.8 million systems. China claims the most number of installations at 15.5 million, with Japan at 1.8, Turkey at 1.6, and Israel and Greece at 1.2 million each by the end of 2004.
Because China has 44% of the world market, it also had the highest environmental mitigation from solar thermal at 4,185 million litres of oil-equivalent displaced. Second highest displacement was Turkey, at 689 million litres, with Japan at 551, the U.S. at 205 and the UK at 8 million litres of oil-equivalent.
Cyprus is the leading country for per-capital penetration of the market, with 63 MW-th of installed capacity for every 100,000 inhabitants. Israel is second with 52 MW-th, while Greece, Austria and Barbados all claim 19 MW-th per 100,000. The per-capita levels then drop to 7.14 for Turkey and 5.66 for Australia, and then continue to decline to Estonia and Lithuania, which had 0.03 MW-th per 100,000 inhabitants.
The average annual growth rate in China was 25% between 1999 and 2004, while Australia and New Zealand grew at 19% and the European continent increased by 13% per year. Initial data for 2005 indicate that the annual collector yield of 68 GWh will be second only to wind.
The IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme promotes the use of solar thermal energy, and tracks changes in the market to draw attention to the benefits of solar for heating and cooling applications.
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