In 2014, the European market, once again, underwent a reduction in the newly installed capacity. The 2014 market amounted to 2 GWth (approximately 2.8 mio m²). This represents a decrease of 6.8% in comparison with the previous year. The total installed capacity recorded a net increase of 1.6 GWth, now reaching 31.8 GWth (45.4 mio m²), representing an increase of 5.2% compared with the total installed capacity at the end of 2013.
The European solar heating and cooling market continues to suffer from the contraction of sales in its largest markets, having reached the same market level as in 2007, before the peak year of 2008. There are several main factors behind this sluggish performance, such as the low gas prices, difficult access to finance for consumers, slow-moving construction sector, less public support schemes for solar thermal and competition from other energy sources, namely those with more attractive market incentives.
In 2014 some positive signs have come from two of the largest European markets, Greece and Spain. These markets have grown by 18.9% and 9.8% respectively. This evolution is due to greater investments in the tourism sector in Greece and by a good performance in Andalusia, in the case of Spain. These examples show that there are still market development opportunities , if some barriers are removed effectively.
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