30 May 2005

UNPRECEDENTED HEAT PUMP MARKET DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY: WHAT HAPPENED, AND WILL IT LAST?


The Norwegian heat pump market” exploded” in 2003, and sales reached an all-time high of 55,100
units (all types included). For comparison, the normal figure during the 1990s was between 1,000 and
2,000 units annually. This paper discusses the reasons behind the unprecedented market development.
Several factors seem to explain the peak. One is the introduction of an investment subsidy scheme, which
was launched as an immediate action from the government in response to the extreme electricity prices
during the first quarter of 2003. Preliminary results from an evaluation of this scheme are presented.
Other factors, which have contributed to the record sales figures, are: the extreme peaks in electricity
prices, systematic market efforts over years undertaken by different actors, the massive media attention,
the increased market competition yielding lower equipment prices, and the improved product quality over
time. The paper also discusses the long-term trends and future prospects of heat pumps in Norway. With
expected sales in 2004 between 20-25,000 units (comparable to 2002), the market is still relatively hot.