International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme

The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) Programme has over 35 years of international collaborative work in the field of research, development, demonstration (RD&D) and test methods for solar thermal energy and solar buildings.  The results of this work are available for researchers, policy makers, industry, utility and business representatives, builders, architects and teachers

The IEA SHC Programme is a member-based Programme with 20 member countries and 5 member organizations. Its mission is “To enhance collective knowledge and application of solar heating and cooling through international collaboration to fulfill its vision of solar thermal energy meeting 50% of low temperature heating and cooling demand by 2050.”

Highlighted in the section below are some of our most recent publications:

Solar Heat Worldwide 2024

Solar Heat Worldwide: two more new world’s largest solar heat plants

Solar heat is a versatile technology that now provides heating services to 122 million customers worldwide. The just published Solar Heat Worldwide study, edition 2024, contains the latest data on all the relevant applications – residential water heating, district heating, process heat, cooling and drying. Two dynamically growing technologies – …
global PVT market

Market and technology trends in the global PVT sector

Europe is the leading region worldwide for PVT technology. Of the global 1.6 million m2 of PVT collectors in operation, 64 % are installed in Europe. The leading countries are France, Germany and the Netherlands. The largest PVT markets outside Europe in terms of capacity in operation are South Korea, …
ways to optimize PCMs

Fine-tuning phase change materials

Compact thermal energy storage can be achieved with a large number of materials. To reduce costs, a high energy density of the storage material at optimal temperatures is desirable. The storage research group of the Spanish institute CIC energiGUNE has worked on different ways to optimize phase-change materials (PCMs) to …
Stakeholder and Citizen Engagement

ENGAGED – a multi-stage framework for participatory urban planning

Stakeholder engagement is a hot topic in the discussion about positive energy communities or districts. Some understand it as simply informing citizens during the planning process to avoid conflicts. Others see it as an opportunity to promote virtuous energy behaviour that supports the integration of solar technologies. Still others see …
viewpoints on solar energy buildings

Stakeholder viewpoints on solar energy buildings

How important do you find aspects such as performance, financing and the environment in relation to solar energy buildings? This question interested the participants of the IEA Task 66 on Solar Energy Buildings. They jointly conducted a survey, which was completed by no less than 310 stakeholders, including academics (41 …
Life Cycle Assessment

Facilitating the private sector on the way to climate neutrality

The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme wants to help industries and associations identify their environmental footprint. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a suitable method to compile the environmental impacts of a product throughout its life cycle. The newly started IEA SHC Task 71 on Life Cycle and Cost Assessment …
Energy carriers from solar-powered reactors

Energy carriers from solar-powered reactors

In future, a lot of green hydrogen will be needed in industry as an energy carrier. Currently, this green hydrogen is produced in electrolysers that are dependent on renewable electricity. But green power is also needed for many other applications. Sustainable alternatives to hydrogen production are therefore necessary. This is …
Investigation of the boost effect of heat pumps in solar district heating

Investigation of the boost effect of heat pumps in solar district heating

During their most recent meeting in Sweden in October the district heating experts from the IEA SHC Programme discussed the impact of integrating heat pumps into solar district heating systems with and without seasonal storage. Jianhua Fan from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) analysed monitoring data from the Ørum …
LED Guideline

Making the right decisions for lighting retrofit – now!

It is the time of the lighting retrofit in Europe. Since September 2023 all fluorescent lighting – tubes and bulbs – have been banned from sale in the European Union. One of the main questions is whether “transitional solutions” in the form of LED replacement tubes or bulbs make sense …
solar cooling design tools

Overview of design tools and models for solar cooling systems

The knowledge hub for solar cooling and air conditioning within the IEA SHC Programme contains a number of new reports. One reviews climate conditions and typical applications for solar cooling. Another looks at technical and non-technical lessons learned, based on a survey of solar cooling experts and practitioners. The report …
PV water heating

How can the grid load of PV water heating systems in Australia be minimized?

During the Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference in December in Melbourne, Australia, the IEA SHC Task 69 Solar Hot Water for 2030 team organized a Special Session on PV water heating systems. The session, entitled Key Considerations for the Adoption of PV Water Heaters featured Dean Clift, who recently finished his …
IEA SHC Solar Award

Solar Award recognizes outstanding solar thermal installation for process heating or cooling

The IEA SHC Programme has just launched the call for nominations for the Solar Award 2024. This year the programme will recognize an outstanding project or programme that has reduced costs and environmental impact by providing solar thermal heating or cooling to an industrial process or several processes. The nomination …