Image credits: Cristian Martin
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News Article

Solar Thermal Energy: Growing Market in Mexico

By Eliza Galeana | Tue, 09/06/2022 - 16:53

When talking about solar energy, photovoltaic solar modules usually come to mind in the form of large solar parks or as roofing in homes and offices. However, there is another alternative, solar thermal energy , which does not require photovoltaic panels but only heat for fluid heating processes (water, oils and even air). 

“At the end of 2021, the global solar thermal market reached an installed capacity of 522GW. In comparison, photovoltaic energy worldwide reached 942GW. Obviously, in terms of solar energy, the photovoltaic market is twice as big as the solar thermal market,” stated Marisol Oropeza, Project Manager, Intersolar Mexico. 

Mexico is the country that annually installs the largest number of industrial solar heating systems. In 2021, 89 new systems were registered in the industrial sector. In contrast, Germany only installed 54 new systems, while India reported 49 new systems. Mexico is the No. 1 country in terms of solar heating industrial facilities worldwide with 975 in total.

The market for this technology is very wide, covering the residential, industrial and services sectors. Solar thermal energy can be used for drying food or raw materials, something very helpful in the agricultural sector. Also, it is useful to heat up spaces, especially in the industrial sector, as a way to achieve adequate temperatures for different processes or for storage. Furthermore, solar heat can be used in parallel with air conditioning in homes and offices. Unlike photovoltaic systems, where the electricity generated needs to be transformed into chemical energy for storage in batteries, solar thermal energy is stored in water or hot air.

These systems also have the advantage of being produced nationally, unlike photovoltaic generation technologies that mostly come from China. "Mexico has many suppliers that manufacture these (thermal energy) products. Some components are imported, but in general the percentage of national content is usually high and obviously the workforce is also local,” said Marisol. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
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Photo by:   Cristian Martin
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Eliza Galeana Eliza Galeana Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst