The use of solar energy in commercial and industrial applications is currently insignificant compared to the use in swimming pools and the household sector. Most solar applications for industrial processes have been on a relatively small scale and are mostly experimental in nature. Only a few large systems are in use world-wide.
On the other hand, if one compares the energy consumption of the industrial, transportation, household and service sectors, then one can see that the industrial sector has the biggest energy consumption in the OECD countries at approximately 30%, followed closely by the transportation and household sectors.
The major share of the energy which is needed in commercial and industrial companies for production processes and for heating production halls, is below 250°C. The low temperature level (< 80°C) complies with the temperature level which can easily be reached with solar thermal collectors already on the market. For the medium temperature level, a number of new collector designs are currently being developed.
To be able to make use of the huge potential for solar heat in industry and to open a new market sector for the solar thermal industry, it is necessary to integrate solar thermal systems into the industrial processes in a suitable way. This may include further development of the solar thermal components so that they fulfill the requirements stipulated.
This Task is a collaborative research project of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and the IEA Solar PACES Programme bringing together experts and industries from the residential solar heating field and the high temperature solar power field.