According to the vision for the Solar Heating and Cooling Technology Collaboration Programme (SHC TCP), as agreed in 2019, solar technologies should cover more than 50 % of the low-temperature heating and cooling requirements for buildings and make up a significant portion of the heat supply in the agricultural and industrial sectors by 2050. If this is achieved, solar heating and cooling can make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions globally and achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement.

Germany has played an important role in SHC TCP from the very beginning. The TCP was founded in 1977 as one of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) first research cooperation programmes. Through multidisciplinary international research and exchanges of knowledge, as well as market and policy recommendations, SHC TCP works to establish solar thermal systems for various fields of application. It aims to break down technical and non-technical barriers, raise awareness among key policymakers, and encourage industry to use new solar thermal products and services.

Its specific objectives are:

  • overcoming barriers and increasing the global market share of the solar sector through research,
  • developing and testing hardware, materials, and design tools, and
  • expanding the solar thermal market and raising awareness among policymakers and consumers.

It has twenty country members from four continents and five organization members, including UNIDO’s Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres. All members have the right to propose new projects, or “tasks” as they are called internally. Each member decides whether they will participate in a particular project or not. The programme’s work also takes place in cooperation with other IEA technology programmes (e.g. District Heating and Cooling, Energy in Buildings and Communities, Heat Pumping Technologies, Photovoltaic Power Systems, and SolarPACES). Furthermore, SHC TCP also collaborates with external stakeholders in this field, including solar industry associations in Australia, Europe, and North America.
The Solar Heating and Cooling TCP supports research and development across a very wide range of topics, having successfully completed 55 tasks over the past 40 years.

Priorities are:

  • Solar heating and water heating
  • Solar cooling
  • Solar heat for industrial and agricultural processes
  • Solar local and district heating
  • Solar construction, urban solar planning
  • Photovoltaic thermal collectors
  • Daylight utilization
  • Materials and components
  • Standardization, certification, test methods
  • Solar radiation and forecasts
  • Storage of solar heat

SHC established its own international conference series in 2012. Since then, four international conferences have taken place. As of 2017, these conferences have been held in cooperation with the ISES Solar World Congress. The SHC Solar Award is also presented regularly. Programme results are communicated via events/webinars in the form of appropriate training courses by the Solar Academy.

Year established: 1977
Financing type: (Task-shared/Cost-shared): Task shared
Member States: currently 20 member states (14 of which are from Europe, Canada, China, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Turkey) and 5 organisations

Task 55 - Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into District Heating and Cooling (DHC) Network
Task 56 - Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting
Task 58 - Material and Component Development for Thermal Energy Storage
Task 59 - Renovating Historic Buildings Towards Zero Energy
Task 60 - Application of PVT Collectors and New Solutions in HVAC Systems
Task 61 - Integrated Solutions for Daylighting and Electric Lighting
Task 62 - Solar Energy in Industrial Water & Wastewater Management
Task 63 - Solar Neighborhood Planning
Task 64 - Solar Process Heat