Kenneth Hansen and Brian Vad Mathiesen, Science Trends
The necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere need to occur within the next decades. During that period, significant renewable energy volumes will be installed, but the challenge is which technologies to prioritize.
Currently, wind and solar power for electricity generation have gained momentum, but these technologies will not suffice when considering the heating sector. Experts have suggested the application of solar thermal technologies for heating purposes, but no studies have analyzed this technology in details in the context of an entire national energy system. In addition, a variety of solar thermal types exist, for example, for individual buildings, building blocks, or for larger district network systems.
Filling in this knowledge gap is the purpose of the paper Comprehensive assessment of the role and potential for solar thermal in future energy systems, recently published in Solar Energy by authors Kenneth Hansen and Brian Vad Mathiesen. Four national energy systems were replicated in an advanced energy system analysis tool entitled EnergyPLAN, with the purpose of analyzing the consequences of expanding solar thermal shares in future energy systems. The countries included Germany, Italy, Austria, and Denmark, located in various regions of Europe and differing in terms of energy demands, resources, and climates. These variations in conditions increased the likelihood that the findings can also be applied to other countries comparable to the example countries in the study.