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Solar thermal industry in France - Statistics & Facts

Solar activity is the basis of energy production. It produces the heat and light necessary for life on Earth to exist. This energy can be captured either by photovoltaic panels, or by solar thermal installations, generating renewable heat and electricity. In 2018, 95 percent of the French were familiar with solar energy.

Solar thermal installations are well-known in France. Almost 80 percent of the population trusted solar water heaters or combined solar systems in their home, according to a 2019 survey. It doesn’t come as a surprise - the primary production of solar thermal energy in France has been constantly increasing. From 50 ktoe in 2005, production exceeded 170 ktoe in 2017.

In 2018, the individual solar thermal equipment market was dominated by pure players. Almost two thirds of the distribution were handled by installers. Sensors must have been especially trendy in 2013. With more than 190,000 square meters of solar thermal sensors delivered in France, installers have been kept busy.

This number, however, steadily dropped to below 50,000 square meters in 2018. That year, most solar thermal surfaces installed in France were flat plate collectors. This drop could be explained by a technological enhancement of smaller sensors, storing more energy, and a longer durability of the products. A similar evolution is observed in terms of combined solar system deliveries which fell from more than a thousand installations to less than 400 in 2015 and stagnated since.

Solar thermal equipment will be, by definition, more effective when installed in warm and sunny areas. Which is why it makes sense to look at French regions located overseas. As opposed to Metropolitan France, the sales volume of individual solar equipment in French overseas areas has peaked in 2018. On Guadeloupe, sold surfaces have seen a noticeable jump of 257 percent between 2017 and 2018, reaching 40,500 square meters. On Martinique, the sales volume almost doubled between 2015 and 2018.

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Solar thermal in France

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