Strategic Research Priorities for Solar Thermal Technology In Europe

Since 2008, the European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating & Cooling (the RHC-Platform) has brought together the major EU stakeholders from all relevant renewable energy sources and related cross-cutting technologies to agree on a joint strategy for increasing the use of renewable energy sources for heating and cooling, to define short to long-term research and technological development objectives and to lay down targets to reach by certain dates.

 Strategic Research Priorities for Solar Thermal Technology In Europe

The European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC-Platform) develops concepts showing how renewable energies can meet the entire heating and cooling demand in 2050. Its vision document, published in 2011, describes the RHC-Platform objectives.

Within the heating and cooling sector, solar thermal energy will play a vital role. Up to now, it has only covered a minor share of the heating demand in Europe, although it has the greatest potential of all renewable energies for heating and cooling. One of the main reasons is that the technological potential of solar thermal has not yet been developed. In the past, public budgets for solar thermal R&D programmes have been relatively small and often solely focused on demonstration.

In this document, the European Solar Thermal Technology Panel (ESTTP) of the RHC-Platform provides a comprehensive outline of the solar thermal technologies strategic research priorities and confirms their great innovation potential. If the related research is carried out, solar thermal will be able to realize its potential and become a major energy source for heating and cooling.

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