The IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Roadmap outlines how best to advance the global uptake of solar heating and cooling (SHC) technologies, which produce very low levels of greenhouse-gas emissions. Some SHC technologies, such as domestic hot water heaters, are already widely in use in certain countries, but others are just entering the development phase.
The solar heating and cooling (SHC) roadmap outlines a pathway for solar energy to supply almost one sixth (18 EJ) of the world’s total energy use for both heating and cooling by 2050. This would save some 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year; more than the total CO2 emissions in Germany in 2009. While solar heating and cooling today makes a modest contribution to world energy demand, the roadmap envisages that if concerted action is taken by governments and industry, solar energy could annually produce more than 16% of total final energy use for low temperature heat and nearly 17% for cooling. Given that global energy demand for heat represents almost half of the world’s final energy use – more than the combined global demand for electricity and transport – solar heat can make a significant contribution in both tackling climate change and strengthening energy security.