Map of global solar thermal industry

Solrico issued its latest overview of the global solar thermal industry, including four world maps presenting the locations of 311 flat plate, vacuum tube and air collector manufacturers.

The company notes that the global solar thermal industry has changed considerably since the first world maps were issued five years ago.

"The largest changes have taken place in the Asian growth solar energy markets of India and China," states Solrico. "Worldwide, there have once again been nine newcomers on the world map. Eight companies, on the other hand, have either left the solar thermal business sector or have been taken over."

Solrico Managing Director Bärbel Epp has identified several industry trends, including that the European heating industry is expanding its production facilities.

Epp states that since 2007, European boiler manufacturers have come to take the majority of market shares in the solar thermal markets in many European nations.

She also notes that since that time Vaillant GmbH (Remscheid, Germany), BDR Thermea Group B.V. (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands) and Ariston Thermo SpA (Fabriano, Italy) have joined pre-existing European manufacturers Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG (Allendorf, Germany) and Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH (Wetzlar, Germany).

Epp notes a dramatic expansion of production capacities among a small number of Chinese solar thermal manufacturers that have come to dominate the industry, led by Linuo New Material (China), which claims to have produced 4 million square meters of evacuated tube collectors in 2010.

She states that the largest manufacturers are relying on vertical integration, developing all production stages from glass manufacturing to final solar thermal systems. China represents the world’s largest solar water heating market and largest installed solar thermal capacity.