Status of Solar Heating/Cooling and Solar Buildings - 2012

Status of the Market for Solar Thermal Systems

Market Size and Trends

By the end of the year 2011 approx. 4.7 million m2 of solar thermal collectors were in operation in Austria. This corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 3.334 MWth. The solar yield of the solar thermal systems in operation is equal to 1.920 GWhth. The avoided CO2-emissions are 440.395 tons, taking the usual heat mix in Austria in consideration.

In 2011 alone 236.240 m2 solar thermal collectors were installed, which corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 165,4 MWth. 94% of the installed collectors were flat plate collectors and 4% evacuated tube collectors. The remaining part accounts for unglazed pool absorbers and air collectors.

The development of the solar thermal collector market in Austria is characterized by a decrease of the sales figures of 17% in 2011 compared to 2010. In the European context Austria still ranks nevertheless on first place regarding the installed collector area per capita in 2011.

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 60% of the market in 2011, 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 2011 a total of 236.240 m² (65,4 MWth) were installed in Austria. This collector area can be subdivided into  221.500 m² (155,1 MWth) flat-plate collectors, 8.690 m² (6,1 MWth) evacuated tube collectors, 5.700 m² (4 MWth) unglazed swimming pool absorbers and 350 m² (0,2 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.


The eight main Austrian manufacturers produced a collector area of 1.2 million square meters in the year 2011. With this number, Austria is one of the leading European countries in solar thermal production. The export rate of solar thermal collectors was 78% in 2011.

The turnover of solar thermal industry is an estimated 365 million Euros for the year 2011.

For more information concerning the industry:


Approximately 3.600 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 - 800 €/m²

Large-scale systems (500 m² - 2000 m² collector/): 300 - 700 €/m²

Other Key Topics


Status of the Market for Solar Buildings


The R&D programme "Haus der Zukunft 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 900 passive houses were built in Austria. About 500 of these are single-family houses, but also 110 multi-family houses, 6 student hostels and 3 hotels were erected according to the passive house standard.

Besides the passive house also a big number of active solar houses with solar fractions between 30 and 100% of the total heat demand are built in Austria.

Main Market Drivers

National and EU building regulations.


No data available.

R&D Activities

R&D Programmes

The following main R&D programmes are in place in Austria:

Energy Mission Austria:

House of the future plus:

For both programmes there is typically one call for project proposals per year. The programmes are eligible for public and private organizations and the industry.

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

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:

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 50 members, who represent about 75% of the Austrian solar industry (manufacturers, installers and also research institutions)

National Associations on Green/Solar/Sustainable Buildings