Electricity from concentrated solar power (CSP) installations in 2011 increased

The Eurobserv’ER solar thermal barometer covers two technologies: solar hot water collectors and electricity production from concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) installations.

Spain is still the only European Union country to have developed a large-scale CSP sector and at the end of 2011 concentrated all of Europe’s commercial CSP operations within its borders, with 1151 MW of installed capacity. If we add the capacity of the four prototypes commissioned in the European Union, total European Union capacity was 1157 MW at the end of 2011. Nine commercial CSP operations went on stream in 2011 (a combined capacity of 420 MW) – all of them in Spain.

Eight of them are of the parabolic trough type each with a unit capacity of 50 MW, while the ninth is a 20-MW capacity tower plant. The electricity output of all of Spain’s CSP plants has been metered, according to REE (Red Eléctrica de España) at 2029 GWh in 2011 (692 GWh in 2010), which represents a 193.4% gain on 2010.

Country highlights:

· Spain: spearheading CSP

· France: first CSP plants planned for 2014

· Italy: laying the groundwork for CSP

Hot water collector market continued to decrease in 2011, but less than in 2010: improvements might be ahead.

The hot-water and heating-dedicated solar thermal market contracted by 1.9% in 2011. In the European Union, 3.7 million m2 of solar thermal collectors were installed in 2011 compared to just under 3.8 million m2 in 2010. Nonetheless, the market is a long way off its 2008 level when 4.6 million m2 of collectors were installed.

The performance of the main European Union markets varies considerably. On the positive side, the German market is returning to growth, the Polish market is building up and the Greek market is holding up well. On the downside, the Spanish, Italian, French, Austrian and Czech markets are shrinking.

Country highlights for solar thermal water heating:

· Germany: the market returns to growth

· Italy: facing difficulties

· Poland: market boosted by gas price increase

· France: Heat Fund boosts the solar thermal in collective accommodation

Besides the 2011 realisations per EU Member State other subjects that are discussed in the new barometer are:
· Renewable energy policies
· Industry overview
· Comparison with National Renewable Energy Action Plans