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Solar Heating and Cooling for Residential Applications- Technology Brief

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This report focuses on Solar Thermal Systems (STS) for residential applications. The document provides technical background, analyses the potential and the barriers for market growth and offers insights for policy makers on the STS field of research. The report is split into six sections/chapters as follows:


  • Insights for Policy Makers
  • Technical Highlights
  • Process and Technology Status
  • Installed Capacity and Market Potential
  • Performance and costs
  • Drivers and Barriers


Based on the findings of the report, STS have only diffused to a minor extent as yet. More specifically, 1.2% of space and water heating in the buildings sector is covered by STS globally, despite the fact that they have been successfully deployed in a number of countries for more than thirty years. STS for residential applications  can reduce the fuel consumption by 50%-70% for hot water and by 30%-60% for space heating in energy-efficient houses.


According to the authors, the STS adoption particularly makes sense for countries that rely on gas or oil imports to cover their heating needs, countries with growing economies where the use of electric boilers for water heating strains the electricity system to satisfy electricity demand and countries with high cooling demand during sunshine hours. Certification schemes, providing quality assurance while taking market conditions into account would strengthen the sector.


Long-term mandates have helped in the development of sound, economically attractive STS markets. Government programmes which promote small, domestic solar water heating systems among low-income families or social housing projects have emerged as a way to reduce household energy costs, create jobs and meet rising energy demand with renewables. Other attractive options to further STS use include the extension of low-interest loans or the establishment of solar-based district heating.


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