TASK 68: Efficient Solar District Heating Systems

Heat is the largest energy end-use, accounting for 50% of global final energy consumption in 2018 and contributing to 40% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Of the total heat produced, about 46% was consumed in buildings for space and water heating at relatively low temperatures. Regarding the heat supply of buildings, district heating systems play an important role and are well-established in many countries since they typically enable efficient resource utilization.

IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Technology Collaboration Programme

The Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Collaboration Programme (SHC TCP) was established in 1977, one of the first programmes of the International Energy Agency, to promote the use of all aspects of solar thermal energy. The SHC TCP's work is unique in that it is accomplished through the international collaborative effort of experts from member countries and the European Union.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • accelerates the pace of technology development
  • promotes standardization
  • enhances national R&D programmes
  • permits national specialization
  • saves time and money

Collaborating Organizations


What's New
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  • Task 63: 10 Questions on Solar Neighborhood Planning and Design Strategies - 10 key questions, 12 authors, and 2 years of drafting time led to a comprehensive paper on planning and design strategies for solar neighborhoods published in the journal Building and Environment. Maria Wall, the Task Manager of IEA SHC Task 63 on Solar Neighborhood Planning, spearheaded this initiative.
  • Task 64: Solar Thermal at Work - The inauguration of the 30 MW parabolic trough plant at the Heineken factory in Seville, Spain, on 30 September 2023 was exactly on time.
  • Task 65: Sunbelt Chiller – An Innovative Solar Cooling Adaption - In 2016, air conditioning accounted for nearly 20% of the total electricity demand in buildings worldwide and is growing faster than any other energy consumption in buildings. The main share of the projected growth in energy use for air conditioning comes from emerging economies.
  • Task 70: Making the right decisions, now! - The new IEA SHC LED Guideline for the Promotion of Lighting Retrofitting provides suggestions for accelerating the replacement of old lighting systems, harvesting the "low hanging fruits" and managing daylight. With lighting being responsible for about 15% of electricity consumption and about 5% of global CO2 emissions, it needs to be brought up to date with climate protection, energy sovereignty, and economic efficiency while ensuring user comfort at the same time.
  • Solar Energy Buildings Around the World - The analysis of 20 Solar Energy Buildings demonstration cases is wrapping up in IEA SHC Task 66 on Solar Energy Buildings. In this article, you will preview some of the high-solar fraction buildings in this collection.
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Solar Heat Worldwide


Solar Heat Worldwide 2020Solar Heat Worldwide 2020

Our annual statistics report, Solar Heat Worldwide, details the positive impact of solar heating and cooling technologies on climate protection. -- Read More

Publication Highlight

Solar Heat Integrations in Industrial Processes

Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP) is at the early stages of development but is considered to have enormous potential for solar thermal applications. The industrial sector accounts for approximately 30% of the total energy consumption  in OECD countries. And, the major share of the energy needed in this sector is used for heating and cooling buildings and production processes at temperatures from ambient up to approximately 350°C. This is a temperature range that can be addressed with solar thermal technologies. -- View PDF

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