The output of China\'s solar thermal utilization industry for the whole of 2011 is expected to be 17.6 percent higher than for 2010, reaching 57.6 million square meters, an industry expert said Monday. Sales volume in the sector will have risen 28.2 percent to reach 94.2 billion yuan (14.6 billion U.S. dollars) this year, Luo Zhentao, executive director of the China Solar Thermal Industry Federation, said at a business forum. The country\'s solar thermal products had been exported to over 200 countries and regions across the world in the first half of the year, Luo said. The sector has witnessed substantial growth over recent years. During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), the industry\'s annual output jumped from 15 million square meters to 49 million square meters, with its value surging from 22 billion yuan to 73.5 billion yuan, according to Luo. He said the industry will contribute 10 percent of China\'s renewable energies during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). Luo also urged businesses in the sector to make innovations in technology as well as in sales strategy to meet growing market demand.