Task 54
Task 54
SHC Task 54

Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems

Project (Task) Subtasks

Subtask A: Market success factors and cost analysis

(Norway, Michaela Meir)

Subtask A contains the investigation of regionally typical solar thermal applications and system designs and the definition of reference systems for the investigation of the cost reduction potential in all subtasks. Their entire aim is to arrive at a purchase price reduction of up to 40%.

Part of this Subtask will additionally be dedicated to an investigation of the political and legal boundary conditions that support or hinder the use of solar thermal systems in selected markets. Market success factors such as marketing and awareness raising activities, aspects of branding and consumer friendly design will be researched as additional tools to boost the market penetration of solar thermal applications.

The most relevant systems per geographic region will be defined in close cooperation with the involved industry in the frame of an issue-specific expert round. They will be followed by LCA and LCC analyses, laying the groundwork for the material and process related cost analyses and work on optimized systems in Subtask B and C.

The main results of this subtask are:

  • Definition of reference systems
  • Performance of LCA as a basis for LCC of reference systems and optimized systems
  • Comprehensive cost category analyses with regard to production, installation, maintenance, and distribution channels
  • Identification of the cost reduction potential at the investigated markets
  • Identification of the most promising cost reduction measures
  • Identification of non-technical success factors such as global mega trends, branding, industrial design, quality, and customer needs
  • Identification of political and legal boundary conditions supporting or hindering the market penetration of solar thermal systems (subsidy mechanisms, legal requirements, standardisation, certification, energy labelling, etc.)

Subtask B: System design, installation, operation and maintenance

(Germany, Stephan Fischer)

In the frame of Subtask B, cost reduction shall be achieved by the optimization of system designs and the use of standardized, prefabricated components and sub-components as well as standardized installation based on a critical evaluation of the involved costs. The aim is to reduce the costs for the kWh heat produced by solar thermal of the investigated reference systems up to 40%.

Investigated are systems with low production costs (recommended by Subtask C) or systems promising easy installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance (e.g. by means of pre-fabricated, standardized components, plug & play systems, etc.).

The aim is to arrive at optimized and standardised systems which are

  • easy to produce
  • easy to install (e.g. less fastening points, standardized mounting, easy to assemble components)
  • easy to control (e.g. by simplified controllers)
  • easy to maintain
  • easy to recycle

The main results of this subtask are:

  • New component proposals for a 40% price reduction
  • Proposals for optimized system concepts
  • Proposals for innovative, new system concepts
  • Proposals for standardization of components and installation

Subtask C: Cost-efficient materials, production processes and components

(Austria, Gernot Wallner)

The aim of this subtask is to develop and evaluate cost-efficient and reliable materials and components for solar thermal systems. The work will be based on the needs defined in Subtask A and is conducted in close cooperation and interaction with Subtask B. In order to achieve these goals, the activities in Subtask C will be:

  • Development, characterization and evaluation of plastics and hybrid (organic/inorganic) materials, thermotropic overheating protection, cheap solutions based on thermoplastics
  • Development, characterization and evaluation of other materials with cost-reduction potential (e.g. metal light weight constructions, composites, etc.)
  • Identification of possibilities for reduced material usage, e.g. through assessment of the need for high efficient materials
  • Identification of new production processes linked with innovative materials and new approaches in terms of collector components (e.g. adhesive bonding instead of mechanic bonding; fully adhesive edge bond; polymeric collector components; rollbond absorber technology)
  • Development of innovative, cost-efficient components
  • Development of new test methods for component testing (failure testing, impact testing, media resistance)

Subtask D: Information, dissemination and stakeholder involvement

(Germany, Sandrin Saile)

As interface to stakeholders outside the Task, Subtask D will involve the relevant industry to support the Task activities and make use of its accomplishments. It will also address the end-users and consumers of solar thermal systems, inform them about innovative possibilities created by the Task and thus provide a gateway to important stakeholder groups inside and outside industrial and academic circles. In order to achieve this goal, this subtask will conceptualize and implement networking events to bring industry, research, end-users and installers together. It will support and promote the results of the entire Task, in particularly those of Subtask A, where a synergetic collaboration is envisaged. Activities involve the organization of workshops to provide input for Subtask A as well as PR activities that are specifically tailored to fit the needs of the marketing measures developed in Subtask A. The main results of this subtask are:

  • Input and support from industrial companies.
  • Publications in reviewed journals, magazines and conference proceedings.
  • Public website and online information.
  • Networking and dissemination events.