Status of Solar Heating/Cooling and Solar Buildings - 2015

Status of the Market for Solar Thermal Systems

Market Size and Trends

In Austria solar thermal systems for hot water preparation and swimming pool heating faced a first boom period already in the 1980ies. At the beginning of the 1990ies it was possible to develop a considerable market in the field of solar combi systems for hot water and space heating. In the period between the year 2002 and 2009 the solar thermal market grew significantly and reached the peak in 2009 due to rising oil prices but also due to new applications in the multifamily house sector, the tourism sector as well as with new applications in solar assisted district heating and industrial process heat. After this phase of massive growths the sector is facing a declining market in the fifth year in a row because of the effects of economic and financial crisis, low prices of fossil fuels and the growing competition with Photovoltaic systems.

Market development of solar thermal collectors in Austria until 2014. Source: AEE INTEC

By the end of the year 2014 approx. 5.2 million m2 of solar thermal collectors were in operation. This corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 3.6 GWth. The solar yield of the solar thermal systems in operation is equal to 2.100 GWhth. The avoided CO2-emissions are 440,898 tons.

In 2014 a total of 155,170 m2 solar thermal collectors were installed, which corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 108.6 MWth. The development of the solar thermal collector market in Austria was characterized by a decrease of the sales figures of 15 % in 2014. The export rate of solar thermal collectors was 82 % in 2014.

The turnover of the Austrian solar thermal industry was estimated with 255 million Euros for the year 2014. Therefore approx. 2,300 full time jobs can be numbered in the solar thermal business.

Typical Applications and Products

The Austrian solar thermal market is characterized by a broad diversification in terms of different applications. The applications range from domestic hot water systems and combi-systems for single family houses, which together covered about 70% of the market in 2014, medium-scale systems (50 - several hundred m² collector area) for multi-family houses, hospitals and hotels and large-scale systems (0.5 - 3 MWth) used for district heating and industrial process heat. Also a significant number of solar cooling and air-conditioning systems were installed. Swimming pool heating is as well an application, but with a rather small market share compared to the total.

In 2014 a total of 155,170 m² (108.6 MWth) were installed in Austria. This collector area can be subdivided into  150.530 m² (105.4 MWth) flat-plate collectors, 2,910 m² (2 MWth) evacuated tube collectors, 1,340 m² (0.9 MWth) unglazed swimming pool absorbers and 390 m² (0,3 MWth) solar air collectors.

Main Market Drivers

The main market driver is still the environmental awareness of the population, but also subsidy schemes, which are in place in all provinces of Austria and also on federal level.

For large-scale systems a special subsidy program has been in place since 2010.


14 Austrian manufacturers produced a collector area of 800,000 square meters in the year 2014. With this number, Austria is one of the leading European countries in solar thermal production. The export rate of solar thermal collectors was 82% in 2014.

The turnover of solar thermal industry is an estimated 255 million Euros for the year 2014.

For more information concerning the industry:


Approximately 2,300 full time jobs exist in the solar thermal business.


Typical specific market prices including installation for different systems are:

Domestic hot water system (6m² collector/300 liter hot water store): 700 - 1,000 €/m²

Solar combi-systems (10 -30m² collector/ 1- 5 m³ tank): 800 - 1,000 €/m²

Medium-sized systems (50 - 500 m² collector/): 500 - 700 €/m²

Large-scale systems (500 m² - 2000 m² collector/): 300 - 600 €/m²

Other Key Topics


Status of the Market for Solar Buildings


The R&D programme "Building of Tomorrow Plus“ supports research and demonstration in order to achieve CO2 neutral buildings and plus energy buildings.

For further information please see:


Market Size and Trends

According to IG Passivhaus approximately 16.000 housing-units exist in Austria. The general tendency goes to "Net-Zer-Energy" and "Plus-Energy" houses.

More information about the passive house market in Europe you will find on or for Austria or .


Main Market Drivers

National and EU building regulations.


No data available.

R&D Activities

R&D Programmes

The following main R&D programmes and thematic funding schemes are in place in Austria:

  • The New Energies 2020 programme supports innovations that make a significant contribution to reducing the burden on the climate and increasing efficiency. The key goals in this context are to develop a sustainable energy system and to increase competitiveness by gaining a technological edge with national economic benefits. The focus of funding is on energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy, smart energy systems and electromobility.
  • The Building of Tomorrow Plus programme focuses on energy-producing buildings of the future and energy efficient housing and was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). The programme is managed by the FFG in cooperation with Austria Business Service (AWS) and the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT). Transnational energy research projects and activities carried out in cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) are also funded via the BMVIT. 
  • The vision pursued by the “Smart Energy Demo – FIT for SET” programme is the first-ever implementation of a “smart city” or a “smart urban region” in Austria. Smart green technologies are being applied to turn cities and urban districts into “zero emission cities” and “sustainable urban regions”.
  • The research and demonstration programme “Electromobility’s Technical Beacons” concentrates on sustainable mobility and energy supply and is geared to the strategic concerns and priorities of the Climate and Energy Fund. 
  • Austria also participates in IEA research cooperation projects (tasks, annexes) under the cooperation scheme with the International Energy Agency (IEA). Research activities under this scheme relate to internationally agreed priorities, national network and dissemination tasks and delegation activities

For details please see:

Further information on energy related R&D programmes can be found at:

R&D Infrastructure

R&D Institutions
Institution Type of Institution Relevant Research Areas IEA SHC Involvement Website
Austrian Institute for Technologies Research Institute SHC Task 41, 47, 48, 49
AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies Research Institute Solar Thermal, Solar Buildings, Industrial Process Heat SHC Task 40, 42, 44, 45, 48 and 49
ASiC Research Institute SHC Task 42 and 46
Linz University University Polymeric Materials Task 39
Graz University of Technology University SHC Task 41, 42, 44,47
Innsbruck University University Passive Houses, Solar Thermal SHC Task 42, 48
Bartenbach Lichtlabor Company Innovative Light Solutions Task 50
FH Salzburg University for Applied Sciences Energy efficient buildings Task 51

Actual Innovations

Compact thermal storages with high energy density: Status R&D

Polymeric materials for solar thermal applications: Status: R&D

Solar Industrial Process Heat: Status: R&D and Demo

Solar District Heating: Status:  Demonstration

Building integration of solar thermal components: Status: R&D and Demo

Support Framework


One of the main drivers is the Renewables Directive, which is a European Union directive which mandates levels of renewable energy use within the European Union. It was published on 23rd April 2009, its official title is 2009/28/EC. The directive requires EU member states to produce a pre-agreed proportion of energy consumption from renewable sources such that the EU as a whole shall obtain at least 20% of total energy consumption from renewables by 2020. The Austrian national goal is to increase the share of renewables from 23.3% to 34% by 2020.

Government Agencies Responsible for Solar Thermal, for Solar Building Activities

Austrian Climate and Energy Fund:

Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, department for energy and environmental technologies:

Austrian Energy Agency:

Austrian Council:


Most Important Public Support Measure(s) for Solar Thermal and for Solar Buildings

All subsidy and support programs can be found at:

Information Resources

National Solar Associations (industry and non-industry)

Austria Solar
Austria Solar was founded in 1999 and has to date 45 members, who represent about 60% of the Austrian solar industry (manufacturers, installers and also research institutions)
Web site:

National Associations on Green/Solar/Sustainable Buildings

IG Passivhaus
Web site:

Passivhaus Austria
Web site:

Initiative Solar Houses Austria:
Web site:

Most Important Media for Solar Thermal and Solar Buildings

Erneuerbare Energie, Publisher AEE INTEC,

TGA - Technische Gebäudeausstattung

HLK - Fachportal für Heizung, Lüftung und Klima

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