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:

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 …
standardized balance of plants

Cost reduction potential through prefabricated and standardized balance of plants

Standardized, modular interfaces for the integration of solar heat into factories can reduce solar heat system costs significantly. The photo shows such a prefabricated so-called balance of plant (BoP) before being shipped to Turnhout in Belgium to connect a 2.5 MW parabolic trough collector field with a chemical factory. The …
Solar district heating info package

Solar district heating info package for cities and towns

Among the 6,000 cities and towns in Europe with district heating, 266 already feed solar heat into their grid. For municipalities that plan to expand and develop new district heating systems to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels the IEA SHC Task 68 team has developed a solar district heating …
innovative solar district heating

Innovations in the front-running solar district heating country Denmark

The Danish solar district heating sector is a role model for the world. Researchers from IEA SHC Task 68 Efficient Solar District Heating met in the Danish capital Copenhagen for a project meeting and visited two innovative solar district heating examples. he first visit was to the concentrating solar heat …
Spotlight on the South African solar thermal market

Spotlight on the South African solar thermal market

Over the last decade the South African solar thermal market has stagnated at around 140,000 m2 of newly installed collector area annually. On the one hand, South Africa is the largest national solar thermal market on the African continent. On the other hand, this is a surprisingly low volume in …
statistics on concentrating collectors

IEA SHC recommends conversion factor 0.7 kWth/m2 for statistics on concentrating collectors

The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) recommends the factor of 0.7 kWth per square metre of aperture collector area for the conversion of area to power for statistics on concentrating collectors. This is an important step for international market statistics about new solar heat capacities. So far, …
Certification and labelling of new collector types

Certification and labelling of new collector types

GSCN and the Solergy label are continuing to grow together. More than a year ago, the Global Solar Certification Network and the Solar Heating Initiative, which developed the Solergy label, agreed to cooperate. In the recent IEA SHC Academy webinar the two initiatives gave an update on the expansion of …