According to the soon-to-be-published report by the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA), a total of 769,879 units were sold last year. This equated to a total heat pump capacity of about 24GW, producing approximately 13TWh of useful energy.
Air-source units remain dominant in the market and heat pumps for sanitary hot water production is the fastest growing segment. Larger heat pumps for commercial, industrial and district heating applications are also said to be increasingly popular. In all, and assuming a useful life of 20 years, the heat pump stock at the end of 2013 is put at 6.74 million units.
Amongst the 21 countries included in the survey, most markets returned to growth, after a very difficult year in 2012. In 2013, 15 out of the 21 markets saw a positive development with some countries even experiencing double-digit growth for a second year in a row. A complete turnaround was seen in Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Finland where the heat pump markets returned to growth after a a fall in 2012.
However, growth in two of the biggest markets – France and Sweden – strongly influences the overall positive results of the European market. Early signs from 2014 sales are also positive with growth rates expected to exceed those of 2013.
The increased sales of heat pumps are in contrast to the construction sector – one of the major influences on heat pump sales – which remains sluggish. Stricter requirements on buildings acceptable energy demand is making heat pumps the preferred choice in new builds and the extension of those energy efficiency regulations to the renovation segment is also thought to be having an effect.
The major limiters to growth are seen as the high initial investment cost, high electricity costs and end-users short-term decision horizons. The EHPA also maintains that despite the obvious benefits of heat pump installations towards the 2020 climate and energy targets, government support for the technology is still underdeveloped.
France is named as the country that produces the most renewable energy, followed by Sweden. They belong to a group of only six countries (France, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Norway and Finland) that produce 62.38TWh or more than 80% of the total production from renewable energy heat pump technology.