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THE SOLAR THERMAL MARKET IN AUSTRIA
1. The present market situation
The last two decades showed wide variations for the solar market in Austria, which is mainly a
market of solar water heaters for domestic hot water and for plastic absorber systems for heating
swimming pools. Following the first boom in the years after the oil crisis in 1973, the market
stagnated at the beginning of the eighties. The market has been marked by boosting demand during
the last five years, after it had started to grow modestly from 1987 on. This development was
heavily influenced by a 'non-conventional' technology transfer process. In this process diffusion of
solar water heaters took place by self-construction groups. They developed a self-building collector
and built up the Society for Renewable Energy (ARGE Erneuerbare Energien). The society supplies
the know-how for organising a self-building group, offers training seminars and lends the tools for
The first boom in the seventies was caused by the consciousness about the limitedness of natural
resources and the dependence on energy imports. The expectations on alternative sources of energy
were correspondingly high. An ambitious solar energy research program was launched and a solar
energy test-station network had been established. A number of companies entered the solar market.
For the most part these companies were not able to provide systems with sufficient quality.
Nevertheless, many potential consumers were interested in this type of alternative technology. The
market was stimulated by a second significant rise of the oil price from 1979 on and by extensive
marketing activities. The discussion about and the vote against nuclear power in a referendum in
1978 caused great interest for solar energy additionally. In 1980 the government took its first
financial measure by supporting solar energy with tax incentives, which generated great demand for
solar water heaters in the first year.
Although the solar market was stimulated by the very high oil prices in 1980, the following world-
wide recession had a disadvantageous effect on the solar market. Consumer demand dropped from
1981 to 1984 by two thirds. This was also caused by the mid-term operational problems, e.g.
corrosion, due to 70's technology which contributed to the bad reputation of solar products in the
early 80's. In these years most of the companies had already been forced to leave the market. Still
remaining in the market were smaller, regional companies. At the same time the market for heat
pumps expanded. They were seen as an eco-friendly technology as well, which was much easier and
quicker to sell than solar water heaters. Intensive advertising campaigns for the heat pumps were
financed by the utilities.
In 1983 the first self-construction group had been founded and built a collector which was
especially developed for self-construction. By word-of-mouth the positive experiences were soon
spread and the number of individuals participating increased. They began organising themselves in
groups to build their own solar water heater. Significant improvements were made in the following
years due to experiences with construction and deployment. In 1986, self-construction groups in
Styria already produced as much solar collector surface as all commercial suppliers in Austria
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Although the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl once again fuelled discussions on
renewable forms of energy, federal tax deductibility for renewable energy technologies was
abolished in 1989. Regardless to political disinterest there was great demand for inexpensive but
nevertheless reliable solar water heaters. The first solar water heater self-construction guide was
published in 1987 and training seminars were organised for group leaders. In 1988 this movement
was institutionalised and thus the Society for Renewable Energy was founded. Due to intensive
media work and several environmental and research prizes which were awarded to them, solar
energy became well known.
In the 90's public discussion about energy problems became increasingly concerned with the
greenhouse effect. The development of the Austrian solar market in the 90's was a self-enforcing
process. The growing number of solar collectors makes in easier for potential adopters to see
existing devices. More information was spread. In 1993 and 1994 the topic 'renewable forms of
energy' was discussed on several popular TV-shows. The yearly growing rate of the solar market
was about 100% per year in 1990 and 1991.
Besides the great success of self-construction groups, the activities of the Society for Renewable
Energy have also fuelled the demand for commercially manufactured devices. 50% of the market
was supplied by the commercial installers. Several new companies, especially traders, were
founded. They set up new distribution networks and organised training seminars for installers.
Additionally to the solar systems for domestic hot water heating the demand for solar space heating
has increased gradually since 1990. 20% of the solar systems installed today support space heating
with a medium collector area of 20 to 30 square metre. More recently there also has been demand
for larger solar water heating systems with several hundreds square metre, e.g. in combination with
a biomass district heating plants , .
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2. Solar collector production and sales in Austria
FLAT PLATE & VACUUM COLLECTORS UNGLAZED
Production and sales in m² COLLECTORS
A B C D = A-B+ C in m²
Total Total home Total home
national Exports Imports market market
production sales sales
1982 10.700 8.000
1983 8.900 11.500
1984 7.600 15.500
1985 10.000 23.000
1986 13.000 19.000
1987 26.300 30.000
1988 23.900 28.400
1989 18.700 30.400
1990 39.900 41.600
1991 66.200 1.600 14.000 78.600 44.500
1992 74.300 1.200 26.100 99.200 40.600
1993 88.100 2.300 22.000 107.800 40.500
1994 120.000 40.000
13 years total 564.600 373.000
Table 2.1. Austrian solar market development (the figures in italics are estimations) .
At the end of 1994 there were 117,5 square metres of solar collectors per 1.000 capita installed in
m² Market development of glazed collectors
80000 National production
40000 Home market sales
1975 1980 1985 1990 1995
Graph 2.1. Development of the glazed collector solar market in Austria
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Statistical data originates from the study 'Marktentwicklung der Solar- und Wärmepumpen-
Techniken in Österreich, Berichtsjahr 1993'.
2.1. Estimated solar park in working order in 1994:
Glazed collectors = 565.000 m²
Unglazed collectors = 375.000 m²
Total = 940.000 m²
2.2. Estimated annual solar thermal energy production:
Glazed collectors = 565.000 m² x 350 kWh/m²*year = 198.000
Unglazed collectors = 375.000 m² x 300 kWh/m²*year = 112.000
Total = 310.000 MWh/year
2.3. CO2 emissions avoided in 1994
Glazed collectors = 198.000 MWh/year * 0,34 tonnes/MWh = 67.000
Unglazed collectors = 112.000 MWh/year * 0,34 tonnes/MWh = 38.000
Total = 105.000 tonnes/year
3. Product types and solar thermal applications
Solar thermal applications have up to now been used mainly for domestic water-heating. The do-it-
yourself-kits which shaped the market, concentrated on standardised installations. A couple of years
ago they started to install medium-sized systems with space-heating support. Recently they started
'do-it-yourself' groups for such types of installations. Large-scale installations with collector surface
areas of some hundred square metre for hospitals, old-people's homes as well as holiday-parks have
been installed and new installations have been planned for the future.
About 50% of the collector surface area in Austria has been installed by 'do-it-yourself' groups.
However the market share of these groups is stagnating lately and comes to about 40%. About 25%
of the collectors installed by them are pre-manufactured collectors
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3.1. Domestic water heating
A. Pure domestic water heating
The typical solar system for domestic water heating has a collector on the roof and the storage with
the control and safety device in the furnace room. Usually the solar buffer storage replaces the hot
water storage tank of the heating system and will be additionally heated with the existing wood
burner or electricity by means of a second heat exchanger. Due to the climatic conditions in Austria,
the systems are with very few exceptions constructed as two-cycle systems with a water-glycol
cycle, which charges the solar storage by means of an internal heat exchanger. Thermosphon
systems have only been operating in exceptional cases.
B. Space heating support
In Austria there is a strong tendency towards solar systems for space heating support with collector
fields of 20-30 square metre and buffer storage of 1-5 m³. About one fourth of the installations
attain this size. There is evidence, that about 10% of new buildings could be fitted with such
systems. Recently there are 'self-construction' groups in this sector as well.
3.2. Flat plate collectors
A. Single modules
The Austrian collectors originate mainly from the traditional 'do-it-yourself' groups. Therefore a lot
of collectors have wooden frames. Additionally to the common frames out of sectional aluminium
there are also collectors with aluminium sumps. The transparent cover of the collectors is usually
made out of low-iron glass. The coating of the absorber (copper or aluminium) used to be varnish
coating. Today however, this has changed and it is now mostly selective coating even in 'do-it-
yourself' collectors for which absorber strips are used. The backside of the collectors is insulated
with mineral wool. About 90% of the collectors are roof-integrated and about 70% of the systems
consist of a collector area of less than 10 square metre.
B. Medium-size modules
Some manufacturers offer larger modules of 4-12 square metres surface, in order to reduce energy
losses, to utilise the available surface most efficiently and to attain a solar installation which is
optically consistent and appealing.
To facilitate the transportation of collectors, after fixing the collector onto the roof the panes are
fitted into onto the collector frame and the system is made watertight with rubber sealant.
C. Build in collectors
The tradition of self-construction has generated collector-kit systems for medium-sized collectors
(6-12square metre), which are fixed directly onto the wooden-panelling of the roof. These collector-
kits are as well installed by professional installers, who are, by doing so, able to keep the total costs
low. By means of a well-designed system, it is attained, that the time needed to build the collector
into the roof is hardly longer than the time needed to integrate a factory-made collector. These build
in collectors are applied for large-scale systems as well.
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3.3. Vacuum tube collectors
Evacuated tubular collectors are installed if high working-temperatures of up to 150 °C are
necessary, e.g. in kitchens or in cases of low outside temperatures like in the Alps. Because of their
high cost and their relatively low market share of 1%, they play just a minor role and there is no
production of vacuum tube collectors in Austria.
3.4. Swimming-pool absorbers
The equipping of public and private swimming-pools with solar absorber systems has stagnated at a
relatively high level during the last years so that their market share has fallen from 60% in 1989 to
40% in 1993. The absorbers used are mainly made out of plastic. About 900 systems are installed
annually whereas two thirds of these systems consist of a collector area of less than 30 square metre,
i.e. are installed at private swimming-pools.
3.5. Hot air collectors
Solar systems for drying purposes are installed in just a few cases for the drying wood, hay or
tobacco. Additionally these types of collectors have been installed in some projects for space
4. Product technology and production methods
The technological standard of Austrian products has been relatively low for a long time due to the
'do-it-yourself' tradition. Partly because of the varnish coating, the costs could be kept on a low
level. This was possible because due to the 10-20% higher solar radiation in Austria (compared to
Germany) the efficiency requirements had not been quite that high.
Roof-integrated collectors, which are assembled directly on the roof, are fairly well developed.
Apart from 'do-it-yourself' groups there are more and more installers that assemble collectors
directly on the roof. Systems have been developed that facilitate easy installation and thereby
accelerate the installation and enhance the watertightness of collectors.
The solar system is a two cycle system with forced circulation. The antifreeze compound used is
glycol, which is mixed with water, according to the location’s temperature low, before filling the
system. For the typical case of a single family home with 4 persons the collector has an area of
approximately 6 square metre, for evacuated tubes approximately 4 square metre. The collector is
mounted either on top of the roof or roof-integrated and the water-glycol mixture is pumped to the
furnace room in copper pipes.
Almost all solar systems in Austria operate with a glycol-water cycle with forced circulation. The
storage is installed in the furnace-room and is fuelled by a second heat exchanger if necessary. Solar
systems are, because of comfort reasons, often combined with wood-burning systems which are
quite common in Austria. The relatively high price for electricity represents an additional stimulus
to replace or at least support electrical water-heater with solar systems.
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The number of suppliers of solar systems has doubled during the last years. Currently about 20
companies are involved in collector production and about 35 companies supply collectors. A survey
of the manufacturers of solar collectors showed that capacity utilisation is at about 50%. Collectors
are manufactured, 50% manually, 40% partly automated and just about 10% mainly automated. (i.e.
some working tasks are automated.) If industrial production methods can be further disseminated
and the output can be increased there will be a potential cost reduction of 15-20% according to this
survey. An additional 10% of cost could be reduced, if installation was optimised through enhanced
construction of the systems.
The manufacturers see potential for product improvements mainly in the areas of storage technology
and selective coating. There is a lot of R&D carried out in the areas of system technology and the
optimisation of solar and conventional heating-systems working together.
5. Breakdown of solar system costs
The breakdown of the total cost has been
generated through the survey of the Austrian Cost centres
manufacturers and their estimations of the
The relative cost for research and
development and production (50%) are Production
particularly high compared to Germany. 42%
However, as the absolute cost figures are Marketing/
much lower the actual costs for production Distribution
are basically equal in Austria and Germany.
The costs for marketing and distribution Graph 5. Cost centres of thermal solar systems
however, are significantly lower; so are,
although to a smaller extent, the costs for installation. This is due to the high market diffusion of
solar systems in Austria. The suppliers and their promotional expenditures benefit from the
awareness of Austria's population of solar energy and the good word-of-mouth promotion for solar
systems because of well-operating, existing devices. There are also cost benefits because of the local
closeness to customers and the exceptionally high level of experience, gained installing systems.
The differences in the cost structure is obviously a result of the market penetration of solar
technology in Austria being far ahead of that in other countries, e.g. Germany.
6. Level of R&D
The Federal Ministry for Science and Research is responsible for the co-ordination of Austria's
energy research, development and demonstration-programme at the national level. Austria maintains
bilateral and international co-operation with a great number of countries. Particular attention is
devoted to co-operation with member countries of the IEA as well as with developing countries.
The principal aim of the Austrian Energy R&D Programme is to reduce the dependence on imported
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The Austrian government highly encourages the close co-operation between the industry and
research organisations/universities to promote the direct technology transfer and the quick
utilisation of R&D results. A great deal of projects is being carried out by the industry, partly in co-
operation with universities and other research institutes, sponsored by the Promotion Fund for
Commercial Research which is mainly financed by public means.
In order to ensure a practically orientated research as well as a basic research, a committee of the
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber composed of representatives of industry and commerce was
established. This committee had an advisory function when the solar energy programme was set up
and important technical and financial incentives on solar energy utilisation were given.
Generally the R&D for solar energy components and systems have concentrated on the development
and testing of economical and efficient collectors, Systems for swimming pools and DHW with a
lifetime of more than 10 years and heating systems with direct or indirect use of solar energy with
special consideration given to ecological and economic aspects. Solar thermal applications have
been subsidised in 1992 with 0,6 M. Ecu (7.8 M. AS), photovoltaics with 1 M. Ecu (14.3 M. AS).
R&D activities are carried out by 3-4 companies, the university of Graz (Institut für Wärmetechnik)
and the technical university of Vienna (Institut für Energiewirtschaft). Apart from them, the Society
for Renewable Energy puts a lot of effort in improving products.
7. Distribution and marketing methods
The boost that the market received in 1987 was caused mainly by 'do-it-yourself' groups. In the
beginning the manufacturers of solar collectors were quite disapproving towards 'self-construction'
groups as they were considered as an additional limitation for marketing activities. This view
proved to be prejudiced as the 'do-it-yourself -activities stimulated sales not just for 'do-it-yourself'-
kits but also for pre-manufactured collectors and even for conventional channels of distribution, i.e.
installers. Some suppliers focused their activities on the supply of collector-kits to these groups .
The marketing activities of the suppliers was facilitated very much by the high market diffusion and
the resulting fact that solar technology is well-known. A lot of suppliers operate just locally or
regionally. During the last few years there are efforts undertaken by some suppliers to operate and
distribute solar systems nation-wide, some of them distribute their products today even
internationally through subsidiaries in the respective countries. A new and interesting marketing
concept is the 'Solarteur' training-scheme offered by one supplier, which is supported by public
authorities. The installers trained in solar installations, become members of the 'Solarteur'-
partnership and distribute the products of one manufacturer. The brandname 'Solarteur' gives them
the appeal to be highly qualified and facilitates the distribution of solar systems. The concept
however, has up to now only limited success, because the installers prefer not to be dependent on
one single supplier.
The high market penetration of solar technology is the main reason for lower prices of solar systems
in Austria as suppliers and installers benefit from the cost-reduction because of economies of (large)
scale. The costs of a complete system for promotion, distribution, transportation and so on are about
20% lower than in Germany.
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The overriding argument to buy (or sell respectively) solar systems in Austria is the eco-friendliness
of solar energy. Another reason is the high comfort of solar systems, especially in combination with
wood-burning heating-systems which are quite common in Austria. The wood burners do not need
to be fuelled during the summer, as the solar system yields enough energy. The economical
advantages of solar system compared to electrical water-heaters is often the reason to replace them.
Solar systems are, according to the manufacturers' estimations, distributed 25% through
wholesalers, 40% through installers and about 35% directly to the end-user. The 'do-it-yourself
groups purchase the materials necessary directly from the manufacturer or wholesalers who
modified their assortment to the special needs.
The companies promote solar system in specialist journals and fairs. The Society for Renewable
Energy initiates 'do-it-yourself groups and is active in public relations and publicity, organises
excursions, produces brochures and leaflets concerning solar energy. There is considerable attention
given by the Austrian media, TV-channels have even programmes at prime time discussing and
informing about solar energy. The most important marketing tool of the Austrian solar industry is as
already mentioned above the word-of-mouth promotion spread by satisfied owners of solar systems.
About 60% of the people working in 'do-it-yourself' groups showed interest in solar energy because
of existing and well-operating devices of friends, neighbours, etc.
8. Incentives and financing methods
Tax deductibility for solar systems has been possible from 1980 to 1989. Since the early 1980s there
has been subsidisation of solar systems by some Austrian Bundesländer. Today all 9 Bundesländer
subsidise solar systems. This is done in a quite unbureaucratic manner. Applications have to be sent
to the respective authorities after the system has been installed and budgets are sufficiently
available. The federal state subsidises solar systems in the tourism sector.
The levels and conditions for subsidisation vary widely. Some Bundesländer sponsor in relation to
the sum of investment between 25% and 50%, others in relation to the surface between 500,--
AS/m² for flat plate collectors and 2.000 AS/m² for vacuum tube collectors. The Bundesland
Vorarlberg sponsors in relation to the energy yielded by the system and the number of persons living
in the respective household.
Apart from the subsidisation by the Bundesländer there are local authorities that promote solar
energy and give financial support to investors. This is especially true in Styria, where all local
authorities sponsor solar systems. In this Bundesland it is conditional to receive local subsidisation
if investors want to apply for support by the Bundesland. There are additional subsidisation
possibilities in housing development programmes or for solar systems in industrial or commercial
There is currently a discussion about whether to link the subsidisation of solar systems to that of
housing programmes. This would mean a quasi-obligation to install solar systems, as almost all new
buildings currently receive subsidisation of housing schemes.
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9. Typical solar domestic hot water system
Type: Two-cycle system with forced circulation
Size: 6-8 m² flat plate collector, selective coating, installed roof-integrated
Storage: 300 l with two heat exchangers, auxiliary heating with wood
Costs: about 5.250 ECU (70.000 AS)
9.1. Typical consumer motivation
The interest shown in the use of solar energy results from the environmental awareness of the
population, which has steadily grown since pollution, forest dying and nuclear dangers became
obvious during the eighties. Solar systems were applied mainly in rural areas. The self-construction
initiatives were successful in these areas, as a lot of work is done there either by the people
themselves or with the help of neighbours and friends. Additionally wood-burning heating systems
are quite common in these areas and solar systems contribute quite a lot to the better comfort of
such a system, as the combined system does not have to be fired during the summer. Wood heating
systems have a relatively big buffer storage and therefore it is possible to install solar space heating
support as well at quite a low cost. Users of solar systems accept the price as they are convinced of
doing the right thing in order to protect our environment.
Because of the diffusion and the high number of installed systems, it starts to become chic to heat
water by solar means. The solar companies encourage and support this tendency through
professional presentation and changing the marketing strategy; away from a technical to an
emotional argumentation. In more current times there is effort put into building up a new image of
solar energy to become 'in' and commonly used.
10. Standards and codes of practice
There is no obligation for collectors to be tested or certified. However, most collectors have been
tested with regard to their performance data and product quality. In the 1994 market overview,
which contains 43 different collectors, there are 33 collectors that have been tested and certified.
There are three different standards according to which collectors sold in Austria have been tested
previously. The results of the respective tests could not be easily compared to each other, as the tests
were based on different assumptions. There are testing facilities at the IT-Rapperswill in
Switzerland that conducts tests according to ISO, at the TÜV Bavaria, ITW Stuttgart and ISFH
Freiburg in Germany that conduct tests according to the German standard DIN and at the
Prüfzentrum Arsenal in Vienna that conducts tests according to the Austrian standard ÖNORM
7714. The three different standards have been harmonised during the last 2 years so that recent
results can be compared. The CE-standard, which has mandatory character, will be introduced soon.
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11. Conventional water heating and energy prices
About 50% of the water is heated with wood, due to the large forest-areas in Austria. About 20%
are heated with oil and another 30% by electricity, (70 % of which is produced by hydro-power).
Date: 1994 Housing 20% VAT included Collective 20% VAT excluded
Electricity - public supply (115 ECU/MWh) (65 ECU/MWh)
Electricity - individual power- -
stations (40 ECU/MWh)
Fuel - Oil (31,5 ECU/MWh) (21 ECU/MWh)
Wood N/A. (33 ECU/MWh)
Table 11.1. Energy prices in Austria .
Data originates from the Austrian statistical office’s publication: ‘Energieversorgung Österreich’
and from the federation of the Austrian oil industry.
It has to be noted that the generally falling oil price is today 32,70 ECU/MWh, due to a 10% rise of
the taxes on oil in May this year.
12. National energy policy
In the beginning the rise of solar energy in the 70's federal policy played the leading role with regard
to renewable energy. The rising price of oil urged the government to take measures in order to save
and to compensate for conventional energy. The strongest support for solar energy came from the
Ministry of Science and Research. Priority policy efforts, concerning solar technology, were given
to the transfer of know-how from basic research to large companies. In the early 80's the period of
the first solar boom came to an end and the federal government was no longer interested in solar
energy. The budget for solar research was cut by a factor of six during the 80's. In recent years the
Ministry of Science and Research started again to fund a few projects.
The tax deductibility was introduced in 1980 and abolished in 1989. It showed the biggest effect in
the year of its introduction. There are no subsidies for private solar systems from the federal
government, but from all 9 governments of the Bundesländer, due to the pressure of the Society for
Renewable Energy and the solar companies.
In Austria an exceptionally high share of 70% of the electricity is produced by hydroelectric power-
stations. The share of renewables in total energy supply is therefore at about 20%. Because of this
relatively high proportion of renewables the federal government has little interest in introducing
new types of alternative energy supply. An environmentally oriented energy policy to introduce and
foster renewable energies does not exist at the federal level. On the level of the Bundesländer there
are some political tendencies towards alternative energy supply, especially with regard to biomass
and close-distance wood-burning systems.
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13. Objectives for the solar industry/market
The market for solar systems has developed quite positively since 1989. However growth has
slowed down since 1992. As the share of 'do-it-yourself' systems has declined there is evidence that
the market in its current shape is saturated. New marketing strategies will have to be developed and
new customer groups will have to be targeted in the future. Apart from the search of new customers
there are efforts made to find new uses, especially in the area of space heating and large-scale
systems for apartment houses, hospitals or in the hospitality sector where some demonstration
projects are currently being realised.
13.1. Prospects for market development by sector
A. Domestic hot water production
The boost of the solar thermal market during the last years shows that the small-scale systems for
family homes will remain the dominant market for solar systems as long as the economies of solar
systems are not enhanced significantly compared to conventional energy supply.
The market shows signs of saturation under current conditions. As the current marketing strategies
have just reached about 3% of the households, there is strong evidence that the potentiality of the
market is far higher especially with regard to the high discrepancy of the installed surfaces per
capita in the respective Bundesländer.
New market segments will be entered in two ways, nation-wide distribution networks and a new
image of solar energy.
Up to now, the locally respectied regionally operating suppliers dominated the market. New
distribution infrastructures are being built currently for example by the company 'Sonnenkraft' that
has consequently built up a nation-wide distribution network of conventional installers, offering as
well solar systems. The company emphasises intensive support of distributors and professional
marketing to get rid of the 'do-it-yourself' image. The messages promoting 'Sonnenkraft's' solar
systems concentrate on emotional rather than technical arguments. This proved to be successful as
they attained a market-share of 35%. Another company has attempted to build up a new
distribution-network in combination with the 'Solarteur' training-scheme which has already been
outlined under point 7.
The second task is to build up a new image of solar energy. The present market situation shows that
solar systems appeal mainly to customers with a positive attitude towards environmental
conservation and the 'do-it-yourself' image. Most systems are installed in rural areas. It is important
to appeal to new customer groups with different motivations like prestige, technological innovation,
independence from energy suppliers, etc. Some of the companies have realised this and started re-
positioning the product 'solar energy' away from the solely eco-oriented, alternative scene.
If new customer groups can be attracted about 10% of the households could possibly be supplied
with solar domestic hot water systems by 2005. This development means an annual growth of 15%
which should not cause any problems for the industry.
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B. Medium-size systems with space heating support
The Society for Renewable Energy puts a lot of effort in creating a market for space heating support
by solar systems. For houses with special low-energy architecture, medium-sized systems with
collector areas of 20-50 square metre and buffer storage of 5 m³ are recommended. These systems
can supply up to 50% of the energy needed for space heating. There is also combined storage with
an integrated DHW-tank. These systems are of more and more interest to investors and will become
increasingly important, as such systems point the way to the further development of exploiting solar
energy. As the installed collector areas of systems like that are much bigger, they currently represent
already between 30% and 50% of the annual collector sales, i.e. about 20% of all installed solar
C. Large-scale systems
Large-scale systems with collector areas of some hundred square meter of collector area are of
interest for hospitals, old-people's-homes, whole housing estates and the tourism sector. There is
some effort put into establishing solar energy in these areas, as the market has high potential and is
likely to develop as positively as the private DHW-sector, if experience is gained in these fields.
The success however is here more dependent on economic circumstances as companies tend to
make purchasing decisions on a rather quantitative basis. Therefore, energy prices are of prime
importance to the future opportunities of these types of solar systems.
D. Plastic absorbers for swimming pools
Outdoor swimming pools will continue to be equipped with plastic absorbers. The market for
swimming pool absorbers has been stagnating for the last 4 years and is at about 40.000 square
metre annually. This sector is closely linked to public sensibility about environmental-friendly
energy supply. This could even mean the obligation to install solar systems for swimming pool
heating, similarly to Switzerland, where the use of renewables is compulsory if swimming pools are
renovated or build. Even if the market grows just slowly at 5% p.a. the total installed surface of
plastic absorbers will reach 1 million square metre in 2005.
E. Hot air collectors
Hot air collectors are rarely used in Austria, for pre-heating the air of indoor swimming-pools or
other big buildings. There are several suppliers of hot air collectors and this sector could grow
significantly in importance, if solar energy became more commonly used. Especially the growth of
the German market for hot air collectors could stimulate demand in Austria.
13.2. Estimated solar market development
Currently about 3% of the households own solar systems for DHW-purposes. If new types of
customers can be attracted this percentage will possibly be increased to about 10% in 2005. This
development should not cause any problems concerning production capacities, as this development
corresponds to an annual growth of 15%. Additionally there will be growth because of solar systems
with space heating support. Assumed that this market segment will grow by another 15% annually,
this means a constant market share of 20% of glazed collectors and an installed surface of 2 million
square metres up to 2005. This positive market development is most likely, as a lot of experience
has been gained in the field of solar energy and especially in the fields of marketing and public
relations. This know-how will now be used massively to foster the market for solar systems.
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PR OSPECTS 2005
% T otal Solar Annual Total
average of house- solar collector solar CO2
Increase holds with collector productivity energy emmissions
solar surface MWh/ supply avoided
systems area [m²] m².year MW h tonnes/ year
Solar space heating, private buildings 15% 3% 2.000.000 0,3 600.000 201.900
Domestic hot water 15% 10% 2.000.000 0,45 900.000 302.400
Large-scale systems/ district heating 100.000 0,6 60.000 20.190
Solar swimming pools 5% 1.000.000 0,3 300.000 100.950
Hot air collectors 100.000 0,5 50.000 16.825
T otal 5.200.000 1.910.000 642.265
Table 13.2. Prospects for the solar thermal market in 2005 (Since 1982 total installed area) , .
As a result of this development the total installed collector area mounted from 117,5 square metres
up to 650 square metres per 1.000 capita.
14. Strategy to overcome the barriers to market development
As in the other countries with growing solar markets, the future of the solar market of Austria must
be differentiated with regard to two scenarios.
A. Constant energy policy
The basic conditions regarding energy policy do not really change. In this case the previous growth
in Austria will come to a halt in the traditional market. The market could however, further grow as a
result of changing marketing and distribution methods and because of increasing environmental
consciousness amongst the population. Official support will hesitatingly adapt to this development,
because public pressure is increasing. This development will be relatively stable, because the
peripheral factors (motivation of customers, product quality, infrastructure of suppliers) will, as far
as this can be foreseen, develop positively.
The projections made in 13. have been made according to this scenario, of an only gradually
changing energy policy, and therefore have to be adapted if conditions change.
B. New sustainable energy policy
Scenario B is that the federal government decides on a new energy policy, which appropriately
addresses the environmental situation. In the centre of this policy will be the increase of the energy
prices by an ecological tax reform. A plan for a systematic development of renewable energy
sources will be necessary. This scenario is not unlikely and will occur in the long-run; the time
however, when this will happen, can not be forecast, as there are too many uncertainties.
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14.1. Conditions needed to extend the solar thermal market
A. No new energy policy
The above outlined market prospects are projected under the condition of a conventional energy
policy and are mainly a bottom-up development. The pressure of solar institutions, companies and
the population because of increasing environmental problems will force politicians to take steps that
will gradually improve the circumstances for solar energy. At the same time there have to be
marketing activities of suppliers, installers, architects, etc. to facilitate further growth of the market.
Especially important measures that have to be taken are:
A.1. Continued Subsidisation
Subsidisation for solar systems has an important role as a stimulation for the purchase of a solar
system. The customers require this subsidisation, because by doing so, the government emphasises
that solar energy is something valuable and that it is a useful way to solve environmental problems.
In a growing market the requirements for financial resources will further increase, this will happen
even if the level of subsidies is reduced. To avoid an artificial restriction of the market through
limited availability of subsidy funds, an adequate increase of public funds along with a growing
market should be ensured.
A.2. Training programs for technicians (installers and consultancies)
In spite of the well advanced market penetration of solar systems in Austria a lot of installers are
still not engaged in solar installations. During the next years it will be an important task to run
educational programmes for installers and, also for consultancies, with regard to large scale systems.
Accordingly traditional trades must be motivated to distribute solar technology, because only they
can cope with increasing numbers of installations with the appropriate competence and capacity.
Therefore, more training schemes for installers should be available and solar technology should
become an integral part of an installer's apprenticeship.
A.3. Information of the population
Information will have to be given continuously to attract new customer groups. Energy advisory
offices and information respectively image campaigns should be initiated, which do not just
emphasise technological aspects but promote and thereby sustain as well the positive image of solar
B. New sustainable energy policy
Despite the growth of the solar industry assumed in A, in 2005 solar energy will contribute just
1,3% to the energy supply for heating purposes in 1986. To enter a new area of the energy industry
which is marked by solar energy, an innovative policy of sustainable energy supply has to be
developed. The new energy policy has to plan and support the conversion of the energy industry by
regulation of the energy market. Under these conditions the solar industry would expand much
faster as projected under point 13. The exact extent to which the market would grow can not be
foreseen but the developments during 1990 and 1991 show the growth rates that would be possible
if conditions were appropriate.
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The following measures have to be taken if renewables are identified as the most promising and
important sources of energy in the future:
B.1. Ecological reform of taxation policy
The reform of taxation policy which charges more on conventional energy and pollution and
discharges labour-costs will lead to more efficiency of energy use and more job creation. The
increasing costs for conventional energy is the prerequisite for the market penetration of renewable
energy. The economy will be able to cope with a slow, continuous and calculable increase in energy
prices. These developments will demonstrate that it is reasonable to use solar energy. If
advantageous pay-back periods for investments in solar applications can be attained, combined with
decreasing prices because of economies of scale, new market segments for solar energy will be
B.2. Compulsory solar applications in new buildings
If environmental conservation is defined as an overriding goal and the costs for solar applications
are reasonably low, compulsory solar applications for new buildings will be the likely consequence
appropriate to a new sustainable energy policy.
15. Results expected when the targets are reached
The Austrian solar industry is amongst the most successful of all its European counterparts. Due to
creativity and commitment of the people that were involved; marketing methods have been
developed that enable solar systems to be established despite the disadvantageous economic
conditions. The 'do-it-yourself' movement contributed a great part to this development. The
development for the coming years will move away from the 'do-it-yourself' segment, which has been
dominant in the previous market development, towards new distribution channels and increased
professionalism in the supplier's activities. The industry, which was up to now dominated by
numerous small, regionally operating suppliers, will increasingly be interesting for nation-wide
operating suppliers. Solar energy will become an important economic factor and an industry
offering attractive job opportunities for the future.
Austria's solar industry has great opportunities to remain an international leader in the exploitation
of solar energy and the development of new areas of application, due to the exceptionally high level
of know-how and experience. By developing new areas of application, like space-heating or large-
scale applications the opportunities of solar energy to contribute to the energy supply will be
consequently exploited. Innovative and creative ideas particularly in the combination of solar energy
with wood-burning or methane gas systems exist already. These are important steps if emissions are
to be reduced significantly avoiding an environmental and climatic disaster. In 2005 about 4
millions MWh of primary energy will be supplied by solar means. This means that 700.000 tonnes
of carbondioxide emissions and the combustion of 400.000 tonnes of oil will possibly be avoided
through the use of solar energy.
The further exploitation of solar energy is possible even on the basis of an inconsequential
environmentally oriented energy policy, which adapts just gradually to environmental necessities. If
however politicians start an innovative policy with regard to energy supply and environmental
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aspects; and consequently support the use of renewables as the most important sources of energy
supply in the future, the contribution of solar energy to the energy supply in 2005 could be
significantly higher. The extent can not be foreseen, as it is very much dependent on the measures
taken by politicians to support renewables.
 R. Hackstock, K.. Hubacek, Solaranlagenverbreitung im internationalen Vergleich, Gruppe
angepaßte Technologie -Techn. Universität Wien, Vienna 1995
 O. Danielsen, R. Hackstock, E. Koukios, Ch. Rakos, Pathways from small scale experiments
to sustainable regional development, Summary report, Express path project, Vienna 1995
 G. Faninger, Die Marktentwicklung der Solaranlagen- und Wärmepumpentechnik in
Österreich, Berichtsjahr 1993, Forschungszentrum Seibersdorf, Seibersdorf 1994
 calculation basis for CO2-emissions:
DHW-Heating with wood (50%), electricity (30%) and oil (20%),
CO2-emissions of wood-burning: 0,25 tonnes/MWh, efficiency: 25% during the summer
CO2-emissions of electricity: 0,28 tonnes/MWh (70% hydroelectric power without emissions,
30% oil-burning, efficiency of oil-power station: 33%),
CO2-emissions of oil: 0,62 to/MWh, efficiency of oil-heating: 50% during the summer
therefor the CO2-emissions for DHW-heating are 0,34 tonnes/MWh
heating of all other applications 40% oil and 60% gas,
efficiency of all other applications: 80%
therefor the CO2-emissions are 0,34 tonnes/MWh
 Fink et.al., Marktübersicht Thermische Solaranlagen, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Erneuerbare
Energie, Gleisdorf 1994
 R. Hackstock et.al., Übertragbarkeit der Solaranlagen-Selbstbautechnologie, Johanneum
Research, Graz 1992
 Österreichisches Statistisches Zentralamt, ÖSTAT, Nutzenergieanalyse 1988, Vienna 1994
 G. Faninger, Sonnenenergie-Nutzungspotential in Österreich: Solartechniken, Anwendungen
und Zukunftsperspektiven, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Elektrizitätswirtschaft, Heft 2, 1992
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ESIF-Solar thermal strategy study -SUN IN ACTION AUSTRIA - Page 18
Tel. +43 - 72 68 73 43 Fax +43 - 72 68 74 43 6
SOLAR THERMAL DIRECTORY
Contact: Mr. Rechberger
Distributer: Solar systems.
1. Manufacturers and distributers of Beginning of solar activity: 1987
solar thermal equipment Number of employees: 13 Trade area: Regional
Solar trade association membership: AUE
Solar trade Association:
AUE = Arbeitsgemeinschaft Umweltenergie HINTEREGGER ESTEC GMBH
Wolfholzgasse 23, 2345 Brunn am Gebirge
AQUASOLAR GMBH Tel. +43 - 22 36 37 71 80 0 Fax +43 - 22 36 37 71 80 9
Mariahilferstr.115, 1060 Wien Contact: Mr. Hieber
Tel. +43 - 22 2 59 78 79 7 Fax +43 - 22 2 59 78 72 7 Importeur/Distributer: all components of thermal solar
Contact: Mr. Balley systems.
Manufacturer-Installer: high efficiency flat plate collector Beginning of solar activity: 1977
made out of stainless steel, solar thermosyphon-DHW-system. Number of employees: 10 Trade area: National
Beginning of solar activity: 1977 Solar trade association membership:
Number of employees: 8 Trade area: International
Solar trade association membership: AUE ID-ENERGIESYSTEME GMBH
Seblas 16-18, 9971 Matrei i. O.
AST WASSER- UND SONNENTECHNIK Tel. +43 - 48 75 61 72 Fax +43 - 48 75 61 72 85
Niedere Munde Str.9-13, 6410 Telfs Contact: Mr. Duregger
Tel. +43 - 52 62 62 02 1 Fax +43 - 52 62 62 63 7 Importeur/Distributer: flat plate collectors, components,
Manufacturer: solar systems for swimming-pools. Beginning of solar activity: 1979
Beginning of solar activity: 1983 Number of employees: 5 Trade area: International
Number of employees: 35 Trade area: International Solar trade association membership:
Solar trade association membership:
ING. FRANZ LEITNER GMBH & CO.KG
DOMA SOLARTECHNIK GMBH Wiener Str. 68, 3390 Melk
Hauptstr. 65, 6700 Bludenz Tel. +43 - 27 52 25 51 Fax +43 - 27 52 25 51 12
Tel. +43 - 55 50 39 99 Fax +43 - 55 50 29 92 Contact: Mr. Franz Leitner
Contact: Gebhard Bertsch Planner/Builder: solar buildings with hot-air-collectors.
Manufacturer/Distributer: thermal solar systems. Beginning of solar activity: 1990
Beginning of solar activity: 1992 Number of employees: 2 Trade area: National
Number of employees: 8 Trade area: International Solar trade association membership:
Solar trade association membership:
JOSEF HUSCHNER "PYHRA SOLAR"
DREXEL SOLARLUFTTECHNIK UND LÜFTUNGSBAU Dorfstr. 13, 3511 Meidling
GMBH Tel. +43 - 27 36 58 0 Fax +43 - 27 36 58 0
Kennelbacher Str. 36, 6900 Bregenz Contact: Josef Huschner
Tel. +43 - 55 74 71 85 6 Fax +43 - 55 74 71 85 67 Importeur: "Teknoterm-Sunstrip"-Absorber, solar
Contact: Christof Drexel selfconstruction kit, solar systems of roomheating support,
Distributer: solar hot-air-collector systems. planning of solar large-scale systems.
Beginning of solar activity: 1991 Beginning of solar activity: 1991
Number of employees: 1 Trade area: National Number of employees: 3 Trade area: National
Solar trade association membership: Solar trade association membership:
ERNST GRIM GMBH KALKGRUBER SOLAR- UND UMWELTTECHNIK
Albrechtsbergerstr.32, 3390 Melk GMBH
Tel. +43 - 27 52 28 72 Fax +43 - 27 52 41 01 Redtenbachergasse 25, 4400 Steyr
Contact: Mr. Grim Tel. +43 - 72 52 43 99 5 Fax +43 - 72 52 43 99 56
Manufacturer/Importeur/Distributer: flat plate collectors, solar Contact: Mr. Großauer
systems. Manufacturer: flat plate colletor "SOLARFOCUS PC-
Beginning of solar activity: 1992 Kollektor".
Number of employees: 7 Trade area: National Beginning of solar activity: 1992
Solar trade association membership: Number of employees: 7 Trade area: International
Solar trade association membership:
Groissgraben 7, 4360 Grein
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Tel. +43 - 1 36 33 79 Fax +43 - 1 36 43 95
Contact: Mr. Karl Netousek
KANDUTH ENERGIETECHNIK Manufacturer: unglazed collectors for swimming-pools.
Welsbachstr. 4, 9065 Ebertal Beginning of solar activity: 1980
Tel. +43 - 46 3 73 77 0 Fax +43 - 46 3 73 77 01 4
Number of employees: 6 Trade area: International
Contact: Robert Kanduth Solar trade association membership:
Manufacturer: flat plate collectors, roof-integrated collectors,
UET HANDELS GMBH
Beginning of solar activity: 1991 8192 Strallegg 170
Number of employees: 14 Trade area: International Tel. +43 - 31 74 27 70 Fax +43 - 31 74 27 70
Solar trade association membership: Contact: Mr. Ziegerhofer
Exclusive Importeur for "SOLAHART" systems;
MEA MASCHINEN U. ENEGIEANLAGEN GESMBH Manufacturer/Distributer of storages, components; Installer of
Engerwitzdorfer Str. 40, 4210 Gallneukirchen solar systems.
Tel. +43 - 72 35 30 20 Fax +43 - 72 35 30 20 Beginning of solar activity: 1987
Contact: Mr. Helmut Pichler Number of employees: 3 Trade area: EU
Manufacturer/Distributer: flat plate collectors. Solar trade association membership: AUE
Beginning of solar activity: 1976
Number of employees: 39 Trade area: A, D, CH VITRUV SOLAR- UND UMWELTTECHNIK GMBH
Solar trade association membership: AUE Kirchstr. 10, 6091 Götzens
Tel. +43 - 52 34 33 02 2 Fax +43 - 52 34 33 02 22 0
OCHSNER WÄRMEPUMPEN VERTRIEBSGMBH Contact: Mr. Brunner
Autobahnstr.2, 3350 Haag Manufacturer: flat plate collectors, mainly roof integrated
Tel. +43 - 74 34 42 45 10 Fax +43 - 74 34 42 45 12 5 collectors.
Contact: Ms. Rudel-Steinbauer Beginning of solar activity: 1990
Manufacturer: high selective absorber made out of copper, Number of employees: 5 Trade area: International
solar system kits, solar heat pump. Solar trade association membership:
Beginning of solar activity: 1990
Number of employees: 4 Trade area: International WAECO HANDELS-GMBH
Solar trade association membership: AUE Linzer Bundesstr. 67 a, 5023 Salzburg
Tel. +43 - 66 2 66 09 46 Fax +43 - 66 2 66 01 40
SOLAR EINKAUFS GMBH Contact: Mr. Hubert Hönigl
Bach 8, 4223 Katsdorf Manufacturer/Distributer/Importeur: thermal solar
Tel. +43 - 72 35 88 88 Fax +43 - 72 35 88 87 systems,unglazed collector systems for swimming-pool
Contact: Mr.Ebner heating, control units.
Manufacturer/Planner/Installer: flat plate collectors. Beginning of solar activity: 1984
Beginning of solar activity: 1986 Number of employees: 3 Trade area: National
Number of employees: 12 Trade area: International Solar trade association membership:
Solar trade association membership:
2. Technical consultants specialised
SOLKAV - SOLARTECHNIK GMBH
Industriegebiet Nord, 3150 Wilhelmsburg in solar projects
Tel. +43 - 27 46 24 30 0 Fax +43 - 27 46 24 30 43
Contact: P. Hakim-Elahi, Ch. Donig ARGE ERNEUERBARE ENERGIE GMBH
Manufacturer: solar heating for swimming-pools, DHW. Postfach 142, 8200 Gleisdorf
Beginning of solar activity: 1979 Tel. +43 - 31 12 58 86 0 Fax +43 - 31 12 58 86 18
Number of employees: 30 Trade area: EU Contact: Werner WEISS
Solar trade association membership:
DIPL. ING. ROLAND BERGER
Arenthgasse 39/11, 1160 Wien
Tel. +43 - 1 40 94 29 5
Am Viktorhof 12, 9321 Kappel am Krappfeld
Tel. +43 - 42 62 46 33 Fax +43 - 42 62 46 33 17
KAPUSTA & WILDBURGER GESMBH
Contact: Peter Prasser
Schulgasse 4, 3100 St. Pölten
Manufacturer: flat plate collectors; Distributer of all Tel. +43 - 27 42 67 17 80
Beginning of solar activity: 1991 UWEPLAN
Number of employees: 35 Trade area: International Brunnhildengasse 1, 1150 Wien
Solar trade association membership: Tel. +43 - 1 98 38 39 3
SSB - NETOUSEK BUNDESWIRTSCHAFTSKAMMER
Doeblinger Hauptstr. 88, 1190 Wien Wiedner Hauptstraße 63, 1045 Wien
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From there is a directory of all (conventional) Austrian 5. Solar research centres
technical consultancies available
INSTITUT FÜR INTERDISZIPLINÄRE FORSCHUNG
3. Principal sources of information UND FORTBILDUNG
Sterneckstr.15, 9020 Klagenfurt
ARGE ERNEUERBARE ENERGIE Tel. +43 - 46 32 70 07 22 Fax +43 - 46 32 70 07 59
Postfach 142, 8200 Gleisdorf
Tel. +43 - 31 12 58 86 0 Fax +43 - 31 12 58 86 18 INTERUNIVERSITÄRES FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FÜR
Contact: Werner WEISS FERNSTUDIEN IFF
Information about renewable energy, organisation and looking Sterneckstr. 15, 9020 Klagenfurt
after self building groups, research into renewable energy
BUNDESMINISTERIUM FÜR WISSENSCHAFT UND Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Wien
Minoritenplatz 5, 1014 Wien
Tel. +43 1 53120-5152
Provides advice in the area of environmental matters,including
photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, biomass-fuelled
cogeneration plants, solar cars, energy from wood, etc
ENERGIEVERWERUNGSAGENTUR (EVA) - AUSTRIAN
Linke Wienzeile 18, 1060 Wien
Tel. +43 1 586 1524 Fax. +43 1 586 94 88
Contact: Michael CERVENY
Austria energy and policy institution in which federal and
provincial administration, important institutions and
EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA (IM SONNENHAUS -
Faradaygasse 3, 1030 Wien
Tel. +43 1 7992888 Fax. +43 1 7992889
Contact. Dipl.-Ing. Wolfgang HEIN
Austrian office of Eurosolar
FEDERAL ENVIRANMENTAL AGENCY
Spittekauer Lnade 5, 1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 31304-598 Fax: +43 1 31304-400
Contact: Franz MEISTER
Responsible for energy policy in Austria
Tech. University Vienna, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Wien
Fax. +43 1 505 4800
Contact: Dr. E. PANZHAUSER
Austrian section of ISES
Tel. +43 - 22 54 78 00 Fax +43 - 22 54 74 06 0
Contact: Gerhard FANINGER
4. Testing facilities
BUNDESFORSCHUNGS- UND PRÜFZENTRUM
Faraday-Gasse 3, 1030 Wien
Tel. +43 - 1 79 74 73 39 Fax +43 - 1 79 87 75 9
Contact: Dipl. Ing. Hubert FECHNER
Efficiency test of solar collectors due to ÖNORM 7714
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