Solar Thermal Technology Assessment

Thermal energy is a key component of energy use in the United States and around the world, particularly in the industrial sector. Energy used for process heat and space heating accounts for 75 percent of global final industrial energy demand. In the U.S., fossil fuel combustion to produce heat and steam creates about 52 percent of U.S. industrial direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

At present, renewable energy meets only 13 percent of global industrial heat demand. Solar thermal technologies produce less than 1 percent of global industrial heat, despite having a much greater technical potential.

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) is developing a series Technology Action Plans (TAPs) to accelerate the deployment of specific renewable thermal technologies and solutions. This Solar Thermal Technology Assessment (TA) is designed to provide the substantive basis for RTC Members to consider developing a full solar thermal TAP.

The Assessment addresses four primary questions:

  • What is the potential of both non-concentrating and concentrating solar technology to deliver cost-effective, sustainable, low-carbon thermal energy in the short-term (by 2030) and the long-term (2050)?
  • What are the major technical, market, economic, institutional, and policy barriers impeding accelerated development and industrial deployment of solar thermal technologies?
  • What priority solutions would ensure that solar thermal technologies are sustainable, cost-competitive (especially relative to natural gas), and scalable?
  • What actions could large industrial, corporate, and institutional buyers implement, perhaps in collaboration with others, to help accelerate and scale solar thermal technologies?

Download the full report by filling out the form below. Download our Solar Thermal factsheet here