Architecturally Appealing Solar Thermal Systems – A Marketing Tool in Order to Attract New Customers and Market Segments

Ingvild Skjelland, John Rekstad, Karl-Anders Weiss, and Maria Christina Munari Probst

17.1

Introduction

Although mature technologies at competitive prices are largely available, solar thermal is not yet playing the important role it deserves in the reduction of fossil energy consumption of buildings. There has been rapid market growth over the last few years, but the spread of solar thermal installations is still very modest taking into account the fact that the technology is highly efficient and proven with a payback time much shorter than lifetime and a cost per kWh six to ten times cheaper than photovoltaic [1].

The cost-effectiveness and simplicity of solar thermal indicate that this is not the sole reason for the general lack of interest for these technologies by both end users/ customers and building professionals.

Anette Henning studied the attitude of people towards solar collectors/systems from a social anthropological point of view in 2000 [2]. Evidence showed that strengthened legitimacy and increased cultural status is needed to attract new customers and market segments.

The general impression of solar thermal systems today, is that these are suffering from a low-tech/low status image (technically complicated but low-tech). Contrib­uting to this view are the published photos and illustrations of solar collectors randomly put up on roofs. More effort should be put into presenting products, systems, and projects in an appealing way.

17.2

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