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:

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 …
right to solar access

Paving the way for solar access in Sweden and Norway

How can urban planners secure the right to light and the right to solar access when densifying urban areas? Experts from Norway and Sweden discussed the challenges using various examples during the international seminar Solar and daylight planning in urban environments on 10 March 2023. Both countries lack requirements regarding …
Webinars in March offer insights into certification, labelling and the rise of SDH

Webinars in March offer insights into certification, labelling and the rise of SDH

Do not miss out the two solar heat webinars in March offered by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme together with partners. You can join the next IEA SHC Solar Academy webinar about the Global Solar Certification Network and Solergy either on 21 March or 23 March depending on …
Integrated lighting

Low-carbon and high-comfort integrated lighting

Anyone interested in research in the field of efficient lighting in buildings will definitely come across Jan de Boer. He chairs the Lighting Technology and Passive Solar Systems Group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Germany. Since 2013, de Boer has also led groups of scientists and practitioners …
Business and financing models

Business and financing models – a clear distinction

Non-technical barriers often play a critical role when it comes to increasing the number of solar cooling systems in the sunbelt countries. Business and financing models are among the important factors in overcoming non-technical barriers. In order to have an informed discussion about successful models it is important to have …
cost reduction potential

IEA SHC investigates cost reduction potential of solar district heating

Transparency about costs makes claims more credible and helps energy modellers. For these reasons the IEA SHC Task 68 on Efficient Solar District Heating (SDH) has started a discussion about cost reduction potential of SDH systems. “We aim at performing the cost analysis based on interviews with representatives of industry …
compact thermal energy storage

“Stability testing is needed to investigate the market readiness of compact thermal energy storage materials”

Stability is a key issue when evaluating new phase-change materials (PCMs) or thermochemical materials (TCMs) for thermal energy storage. A loss of stability may reduce the storage capacity and/or the thermal power exchange over the operational life of compact thermal energy storage (CTES) systems. This is why the researchers of …