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
  • IEA SHC Solar Award 2024 Shortlist - Five nominations are shortlisted for the International Energy Agency Solar Heating Programme (IEA SHC) 2024 SHC SOLAR AWARD. The Award will be presented on 29 August during EuroSun 2024 in Limassol, Cyprus. This year's IEA SHC Solar Award honors a project that reduces costs and emissions by incorporating solar thermal technologies in an industrial process. The recipient of the 2024 Solar Award will be one of our five finalist projects from France, Kenya, Spain, Uganda, and the United States. (Posted: 2024-07-01)
  • Press Release: IEA SHC Solar Heat Worldwide Released - The 2024 edition of Solar Heat Worldwide by the IEA SHC Programme underscores the resiliency and changing landscape of solar heat. Notably, this year’s report includes a dedicated section on PV Generated Heat (PGH), highlighting system concepts and installations. To illustrate some of the report's key data, we have developed a series of infographics. Both the report and infographics are free to download at https://www.iea-shc.org/solar-heat-worldwide. (Posted: 2024-06-11)
  • IEA SHC Solar Academy's July webinar! - We hope you will join us for this dive into the latest market data and trends. Register here: https://www.iea-shc.org/iea-shc-solar-academy-solar-heat-worldwide-2024-harnessing-solar-thermal-energy-for-a-sustainable-future (Posted: 2024-07-01)
  • 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. (Posted: 2024-05-27)
  • 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. (Posted: 2024-05-16)
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  • 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.
  • 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.
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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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