A Solar Heating & Cooling Renaissance?
Monday, Jul 01 2019
As discussions about how to address climate change intensify, a frequently overlooked contributor to the global crisis are emissions from heating and cooling the air and water in homes, businesses and industrial facilities. Many might think that the power and transportation sectors are the only areas for improvement, but the global building and construction sectors are responsible for nearly 40% of carbon emissions. To fully deal with this issue, we must address HVAC concerns.
Enter solar heating and cooling (SHC).
The SHC market has slowed in recent years as investment in clean energy technology has tilted toward power generation. However, a report released last month by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) shows a reversal in that trend. A majority of the largest markets outside of China saw SHC demand increase last year for the first time since 2015.
This trend change is due to several factors, including improved cost-competitiveness of solar thermal systems, rising interest among commercial and industrial clients and clean air policies.
Many of the world’s largest solar thermal markets saw growth in 2018, a trend that is expected to continue in 2019, according to IEA SHC’s Solar Heat Worldwide 2019 report.
Global SHC systems totaled 480 GWth in 2018, saving 43 million tons of oil and avoiding 138 million tons of C02 emissions. The SHC sector is a global, multi-billion-dollar enterprise that supports the jobs of more than 672,000 people, including thousands in the United States.
The vast majority of Americans believe a transition to a clean energy economy is not just needed, but inevitable. In doing this, it’s important to consider the effects that traditional water heating and HVAC have on the climate, and to develop smart policies that further deploy solar thermal technology across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
With data from 68 counties, Solar Heat Worldwide 2019 is the most comprehensive annual evaluation of solar heating and cooling markets worldwide.