Task 52
Task 52
SHC Task 52

Solar Heat and Energy Economics

Project (Task) Subtasks

Subtask A: Energy Scenarios

The objective of Subtask A was to analyse the role of solar thermal in the energy system of urban environments with a horizon of 2050 based on scenarios analyses of energy system. The scenarios reflected the combined view of electricity, heat and transport as well as other key heat supply technologies like electrical and thermal heat pumps and CHP. Different district structures were taken into account and different scenarios regarding the development of the energy system. The scenarios could also take into account selected key differences in current configurations of national energy systems, i.e. levels of renewable energy, nuclear, hydro etc. and the potential developments in the future i.e. high renewable energy, high fossil fuel or high nuclear. Particularly the role of solar thermal in future smart energy systems with integrated electricity, heat and transport supplies will be addressed.

Subtask A had to elaborate scenarios based on a common methodology.

The contents of subtask A was about:

  • Using energy system analyses and GIS based data for creating scenarios highlighting the use of solar thermal in future energy systems in different types of energy systems
  • Identifying balances between heat or cooling savings and supply systems with relation to solar thermal
  • Identifying balances between building level solar thermal and solar thermal in local district heating networks
  • Identifying the role of solar thermal in integrated renewable energy systems (smart energy systems) and in particular the interrelation with combined heat and power (CPH) and heat pump production.

The main activities of subtask A are:

A1: Identification of relevant solar thermal concepts and establishing energy system models for enabling energy system analysis of key solar thermal concepts

Based on existing work and experiences of all partners in the Task relevant concepts for the integration of solar thermal energy in urban areas will be identified. In order to allow for a comprehensive representation of the identified concepts in the different models the used approaches in each model will be discussed and further elaborated. There will be two main outcomes: on the one hand this will lead to a common understanding of how to qualify the results of the different modelling approaches regarding the use of solar thermal energy, on the other hand a common methodology for the development of scenarios within the Task will be defined. The existing models will partly be extended if it shows to be necessary in order to reflect the common methodology.

A2: Development of energy system scenarios for selected countries focusing on the analysis of the role of solar thermal with a time horizon of 2050

For selected countries we will develop energy system scenarios with the target of 100% renewable energy supply in 2050. Main focus of the analysis is to identify the role of solar thermal energy in the overall energy system and the barriers and drivers related to different solar thermal energy concepts. Therefore the parts of the energy system that are directly linked to solar thermal energy will be investigated in detail mainly based on existing scenarios and ongoing projects. In order to deepen the understanding of barriers and drivers as well as technological and economic potentials of different concepts on the national level selected further scenarios will be developed within the Task. Highly important scenario settings will be defined in accordance with the main partners of the Subtask/Task. The necessary data for the calculations will be provided by the partners within the Task and if necessary further data research will be undertaken.

A3: Analyses of the role of solar thermal concepts in future energy systems including sensitivity analyses regarding cost developments, national and international system integration and the influence of climate change

In order to identify promising configurations of future energy systems, the role of solar thermal energy and the barriers and drivers in the transition to such systems sensitivity analyses will be calculated. The barriers and drivers in the diffusion of different technologies in the transition to such systems will be elaborated based on existing scenarios for the selected countries. Parameters that have shown to be highly important will be analysed in the context of the new findings within the Task.


  • A1 Report on advanced energy system analyses of solar thermal concepts: Methodology report
  • A2 Report on future scenarios highlighting recommended uses of solar thermal and sensitivity analysis of important parameters
  • A3 Contribution to the Task 52 common publications and Subtask Report

Subtask B: Methodologies, Tools and Case studies for Urban Energy concepts

Subtask B aims at providing methodologies to support technical and economical calculations for successful integration of solar thermal in urban environments. Depending on energy scenario the use of solar thermal may or may not be energetically rational or economically viable. The intention is to identify urban planning methodologies and calculation techniques capable to ensure an objective evaluation of the role of solar thermal in urban energy scenario’s reflecting future regional, national and international boundary conditions.

The content of subtask B is about:

  • • Development of methodologies with focus on performance indicators
  • • Energy planning tools and toolboxes (from Urban planning to neighbourhoods)
  • • Case studies analysis of different regions

The main activities of subtask B are:

B1: Development of methodologies and performance criteria

In order to develop energy concepts in the urban environment methods will be develop which allows the characterization of different urban morphologies in different climate regions. The methods will be able to identify patterns of consumption in regions (actual and long term development) and will be able to reflect and quantify effects of urban environment on consumptions and identify determinant factors. Key indicators to describe different situations was developed (e.g. heat density; solar potential, building typology). In addition evaluation criteria for energy scenarios on urban level was identified and described. These performance indicators will be elaborated in order to ensure the viability of integration of solar thermal systems into urban scales. These indicators have to reflect energy scenarios, price evolution scenarios and Energy system boundaries.

B2: Review on existing tools and development of tool chains

Simulation represents a robust tool to design, evaluate/predict performance and study the impact of various parameters on the targeted performance. Simulation of the solar thermal systems is widely used and can be achieved on different level (system, house, community, urban etc…). The focus in this subtask was on the time and space resolution of simulation tools. Tools capable to predict solar potential are usually geographical but do not present any link with design tools of energy systems in urban environment. On the other hand design tools are usually engineered to promote a system without taking into account variability of the production system and consumption evolution. With the increase of renewable energy systems and the reduction of energy consumption in the horizon of 2050 the fluctuation of the resources not only in time but also geographically must be considered in the design tools.

A survey will be conducted on the available simulation and design tools integrating solar thermal modelling in urban planning and energy-economic calculations. This review permited to identify and document:

  • Space and time resolution of each tool
  • Capability to integrate the variability and types of energy resources on a space level (different sources in different regions) and on time level (evolution of the scenario)
  • Existing or potential linking of each tool with other tools (information flows etc..). This part is extremely important to accurately evaluate typologies and scenarios.

We aimed at creating energy/information flows interfaces between relevant tools to take advantage of the capabilities/strong points of each tool. This tool chain was based on the tools considered solely or by linking different tools in order:

  • to evaluate energy scenarios
  • to simulate/evaluate Morphologies and typologies identified
  • to calculate performance indicators relevant to each typology and energy scenario

Finally a guideline will be elaborated to document the use of tools, method/toolboxes for each particular case. This guideline helped identifying types of answers each tool was able to provide for each situation.

B3: Case studies

The use of solar thermal can be differently weighted depending on the size and the boundary of the energetic systems considered. Within this activity case studies for energy concepts of integration of solar thermal systems into urban and regional energy systems were performed. Case studies:

  • reflected different typologies of structures and integration configurations of solar thermal into the urban energy systems
  • reflected different climates.
  • were based on the state of the art and the lesson learned from best cases to meet the actual energy systems (joint activity with subtask C)
  • reflected the evolution of the energy scenarios in the horizon of 2050 (up to 100 % renewable)

Based on the results of these four case studies Key findings will be documented in guidelines and solution sets specific to different regions and contexts.


  • B1 Report on methodologies, and existing Planning tools
  • B2 Report on Case studies
  • B3 Development of a guideline analysing case studies and solutions sets with performance indicators (which solution fits to which situation including the interpretation of the outcome of the scenarios (Subtask A) and including no go’s)
  • B4 Contribution to the Task 52 common publications and Subtask Report

Subtask C: Technology and Demonstrators

In Subtask C best practice examples of mainly renewable-based energy systems (focus: solar thermal) are investigated in more detail. Interaction between heating supply and electrical grid or gas grid was reflected.

The investigation is limited to the following conditions:

  • Solar thermal systems with direct connection to heat and, more general, to energy supply networks (urban, suburban and municipal level)
  • Solar-assisted building blocks (micro-grids) in urban environments (urban level only)
  • Renewable heating and cooling systems like Heat pumps in combination with PV

The content of Subtask C is about:

  • Classification of relevant (renewable-based) technologies and demonstrators in urban environments
  • Screening of best practice examples
  • Analysis and documentation of selected best practice examples
    • Technological and economic analysis
    • Analysis of bottleneck’s and success factors, lessons learned
    • Analysis of monitoring data (subject to data availability)
  • Further development of (existing) business opportunities with regard to future energy supply systems

The main activities of Subtask C are:

C1 Classification of relevant technologies and demonstrators and screening of best practice examples

Task C1 aims to give an exhaustive overview over successfully implemented energy systems in urban environments with a high share of renewable technologies (focus: solar thermal). Based on a screening on relevant technologies and demonstrators selected best practice examples were identified for further investigations in close co-operation with the task consortium. A matrix for the identification of relevant technologies and demonstrators was developed.

C2 Analysis and documentation of best practice examples

Practical experiences (lessons learned, bottlenecks, success factors, etc.) regarding financing, design, construction; commissioning and operation of selected best practice examples were documented and critically assessed. Depending on data availability monitoring data of relevant demonstrators were analysed.

C3 Further development of (existing) business opportunities with regard to future energy supply systems

In Task C3 selected best practice examples were analysed with regard to their economic performance at present and with regard to changing future conditions in urban energy systems (as assumed in Subtask B and Subtask C).


  • C1 Report on innovative energy systems in urban environments and evaluation of best practice examples
  • C3 Contribution to the Task 52 common publications and Subtask Report