IEA SHC Task 55: Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks

The growing market of solar thermal heating and cooling networks requires support in the integration of complex solar thermal systems. The Austrian project includes the management of the IEA SHC Task 55, the management of Subtask A and the introduction of Austrian project results. In the course of the research project, the integration and optimization of system components and large solar thermal heating and cooling networks are described and advanced.

Short Description

Austria´s heating supply strategy is one major component of the country´s energy policy. In 2015, district heating accounted for 21% of the total energy consumption (incl. heat water supply and air conditioning). In the past 10 years, properties connected to district heating have been increasing by 35.7%. Today, around 24.2% of all living spaces in Austria are connected to district heating networks, according to the "Fachverband der Gas- und Wärmeversorgungsunternehmungen". District heating and cooling networks should be based on a highly efficient application mix to reduce CO2 emissions and strengthen Austria´s competitiveness on the international technology market of renewable energy sourcing.

The IEA SHC Task 55 aims to optimize district heating and cooling networks based on large solar thermal applications to contribute to regional and international climate protection efforts. The Task stimulates the expansion and modernization of Austrian's transmission and distributing networks based on large solar thermal plants and the optimization of system parts and components. The Task will provide economic and technical solutions to integrate large energy storage systems and hybrid technologies into heating and cooling networks based on large solar thermal plants for global multiplication.

The IEA SHC Task 55 is carried out under the Austrian lead. Besides the Operating Agent, the Austrian role is played in leading the Subtask A. The participation of Austrian institutions will contribute to following research activities:

  • Economic analyses of overall DHC networks, their supply strategies, transition strategies, heat demand and energy price scenarios
  • Assessment of technical requirements of existing and newly integrated large scale SDH/SDC
  • Overall DHC network control strategies and algorithms for increasing solar thermal fractions
  • Development of methods for in-situ collector tests
  • Automated monitoring and failure detection of key components
  • Control strategies and self-learning controls of key components
  • Definition of guidelines to optimize hydraulics and piping
  • Development of guidelines for modular conception and construction
  • Analysis of business models for solar and hybrid systems
  • Identification of beneficial and challenging macroeconomic environments for SDC/SDC systems in new and existing markets
  • Preparation of a database for large SDH/SDC systems


Publications are available on the website of IEA SHC Task 55.


Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates

Contact Address

AIT Energy Department
Giefinggasse 2, 1210 Wien,
Projektleiter: Ralf-Roman Schmidt
Projektmitarbeiter: Paolo Leoni
Tel: +43 (0) 50550-6695

S.O.L.I.D. Gesellschaft für Solarinstallation und Design mbH,
Puchstraße 85, 8020 Graz
Operating Agent: Sabine Putz
Projektmitarbeiter: Anna Katharina Provasnek, Werner Doll
Tel: +43 0316 292840 45

AEE – Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien (AEE INTEC),
Feldgasse 19, A-8200 Gleisdorf
Projektmitarbeiter: Christian Fink, Daniel Tschopp, Philip Ohnewein
Tel: +43 (0)3112-5886-252

BIOENERGY 2020+ GmbH (BE2020+)
Inffeldgasse 21b
8010 Graz
Markus Gölles
Tel: +43 316 8739201

Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Konstruktion und Materialwissenschaften
Arbeitsbereich Energieeffizientes Bauen (UIBK)
Technikerstrasse 13, 6020 Innsbruck
Projektmitarbeiter: Wolfgang Streicher, Fabian Ochs
Tel: +43 512 507-63603