There are now very clear indications that the the government of Uruguay together with the state owned utility will launch a massive solar thermal program before the end of the year. Uruguay, known as the Switzerland of South America, and like the alp country lack of petroleum and heavily depends on hydro electric generation. In Uruguay this is by far enough for the ever growing demand, consequently a lot of electricity is imported, either by interconnection with Brazil or Argentina or in form of fuel oil.
The residential hot water is in general produced with electricity and close to 40% of the monthly electricy bill is used to heat water. Taking this into consideration, the government has decided to launch a solar thermal program, with several incentives to cut the peaks of electricity that occur in the evening when people normally take their shower.
As far as I know there are not many successful solar thermal program running around the world. Please let me know if you, dear reader, has knowledge of any such program and maybe we can learn the best practises.