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:

champions of PCMs and TCMs

Commercially available products and champions of PCMs and TCMs

The Compact Thermal Energy Storage group within the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme investigates new materials for storing heat and develops standard procedures to test their stability, heat capacity etc. This is important basic research in order to find storage materials for new applications. During the Solar Academy webinar …
solar neighborhoods

Interdisciplinary author team answers ten questions concerning planning and design strategies for solar neighborhoods

10 key questions, 12 authors and two years of drafting time led to a comprehensive paper on planning and design strategies for solar neighborhoods, which has just been published by the journal Building and Environment. The initiative originated from Associate Professor Maria Wall, who heads IEA SHC Task 63 on …
IEA SHC Solar Academy training in Cape Verde with high visibility

IEA SHC Solar Academy training in Cape Verde with high visibility

The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme pursues a multidimensional approach to support the market transformation of solar cooling. This includes training for entrepreneurs from the installation industry and energy experts from administration at a national level. The photo shows solar cooling expert Dr Uli Jakob during a two-day specialized …
Technical tour to Europe's largest solar industrial heat plant at Heineken Spain

Technical tour to Europe’s largest solar industrial heat plant at Heineken Spain

The inauguration of the 30 MW parabolic trough plant at the Heineken factory in Seville, Spain, on 30 September 2023 was exactly on time. The investor and plant operator Engie España had to put the plant into operation before the end of September in order to receive the extensive subsidy …
Solar energy in wastewater treatment

“There is high potential for using solar energy in wastewater treatment”

In a circular economy the efficient supply of carbon-free energy and the recovery of resources as well as the treatment of wastewater must go hand in hand. In the IEA SHC Task 62 on Solar Energy in Industrial Water & Wastewater Management more than 50 experts worked intensively together to …
high-solar-fraction buildings

Demo projects of high-solar-fraction buildings carefully analysed

The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme addresses the question of what is needed to reach a high degree of self-sufficiency in solar energy buildings and blocks. A research group within the IEA SHC Task 66 on Solar Energy Buildings has identified 20 completed or planned mostly residential building projects …
open data set

Open data sets have great importance when analysing and optimising operation strategies for solar district heating plants

A complete annual data set of monitoring results for a solar district heating plant is an important prerequisite for meaningful simulations of such systems and for developing of monitoring algorithms. That is why the scientists working on IEA SHC Task 68 on Efficient Solar District Heating are committed to ensuring …
Tests of solar water heaters

Tests of solar water heaters in China aim at improving standards

More than a third of the newly installed collector area in 2021 globally was thermosiphon systems. They dominate sales in many Asian and Latin American countries. The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 69, “Solar Hot Water for 2030” is investigating performance and failure modes to provide the technology …
LCA of solar water heaters

Carbon footprint assessment of various types of solar water heater

The Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) wants to support the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme with life cycle analysis of solar water heaters. During the last meeting of IEA SHC Task 69 on Solar Hot Water for 2030 in April 2023 Harald Kicker from the Institute of Polymeric Materials …
real climate neutrality

Solar thermal achieves highest level of “real” climate neutrality

The term “climate neutral” is omnipresent today. But there is no generally accepted official definition of climate neutrality. Instead there are three definitions that have different impacts on the assessment of residential solar-energy-based systems. Harald Drück, Chair of IEA SHC Task 66 Solar Energy Buildings, calls these three approaches: virtual, …
Solar Heat Worldwide 2023

Deep insights into solar market development on the global, national and sector-specific levels

Solar Heat Worldwide 2023 reports mixed growth for solar thermal. While solar thermal markets grew, particularly in Europe, the global market was overshadowed by declines in the two largest markets, China and India. As a result, the global new solar heat capacity in 2022 contracted by 9.3% compared to 2021, …
support low carbon economies

“Solar thermal is uniquely positioned to support low-carbon economies”

Dr Lucio Mesquita from Natural Resources Canada will chair the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) for the next two years. He was elected during an Executive Committee meeting in June in France (see photo). Mesquita (marked with the red arrow on the photo) already supported the former …