Status of Solar Heating/Cooling and Solar Buildings - 2020

Status of the Market for Solar Thermal Systems

Market Size and Trends

As early as the 1980s, the use of thermal solar energy experienced a first boom in the area of water heating and the heating of swimming pools. 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 new applications in solar assisted district heating and industrial process heat.

After the phase of massive growth until 2009, the domestic market has been declining for a decade. This development is not only observed in Austria, but with a few exceptions also in most European countries.

In 2019, the Austrian domestic market again recorded a decline of 8% compared to 2018.

Market development of solar thermal collectors in Austria until 2019. Source: AEE INTEC

By the end of the year 2019 approx. 5 million m² of solar thermal collectors were in operation. This corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 3,5 GWth. The solar yield of the solar thermal systems in operation is equal to 2,081 GWhth. The avoided CO2-emissions are 353,713 tons.

In 2019 a total of 91.580 m² solar thermal collectors were installed, which corresponds to an installed thermal capacity of 64,1 MWth.

The export rate of solar thermal collectors with 81% in 2019 was on the same level as in 2018. The turnover of the Austrian solar thermal industry was estimated with 149 million Euros for the year 2018. Therefore approx. 1,200 full time jobs can be numbered in the solar thermal business.

Typical Applications and Products

Solar thermal systems for water heating in single-family homes continue to dominate the solar heating market. Applications in the apartment building sector, but also in the service sector and here in particular in tourism are the two other sectors that are essential.

Even if systems in the areas of solar district heating and the integration of thermal solar systems in industrial low-temperature processes are becoming increasingly widespread, they only play a subordinate role in relation to the total installed capacity.

Solar air systems for drying agricultural products and solar cooling and air conditioning are currently only niche areas with very small market shares.

As mentioned above, the single-family home area represents the largest market. 55% of the solar systems installed in 2019 were in the single-family home area, 38% in the multi-family home area. The hotel and tourism sector had a market share of 4%. 3% are distributed between applications in trade and industry.

PVT collectors are becoming increasingly popular. The total area of ??all PVT collectors installed in Austria so far amounts to 1,179 m² with a thermal capacity of 578 kWth and an electrical output of 200 kWpeak.

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 for systems in the range of 100 m² to 10,000 m² in the following fields of application: solar process heat, solar district heating, high solar fraction, new and innovative technologies.


The Austrian production of glazed flat collectors, vacuum tube collectors and air collectors is spread over 10 companies, whereby for some years more than 80% of the production has been in the hands of only one company.

The production, the export and import of thermal solar collectors (all types of collectors) in Austria from 2000 to 2019 are shown in the following figure. Exports, based on the collector area, decreased due to the declining market development in the most important export markets. In relation to the export share of glazed flat collectors in production, this still corresponds to 81%.

For more information concerning the industry:


Approximately 1,200 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


With "City of the Future" a program is being established in which new technologies, technological (sub) systems, urban services, services and solutions are to be developed. The 7th call addressed (published in October 2019) research and development questions in connection with buildings, quarters and cities as well as new challenges in connection with digitalization in construction, the implementation of plus energy quarters and the development of innovative urban greening technologies.

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

One of the central objectives of Austrian research, technology and innovation policy is to set strategic priorities in research, development and innovation. In this way, selected future fields and key technologies with high potential for business and society are supported in a targeted and sustainable manner.

The following thematic programs are currently available in the ENERGY, CITY AND ENVIRONMENT area

  • Energy research
  • Energy Transition 2050
  • ERA NET Smart Energy Systems (SES) RegSys
  • International Energy Agency (IEA)
  • Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (JPI UE)
  • Smart Cities demo
  • City of the future
  • Flagship regions of energy
  • Zero emission mobility


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

Institution Type Research Areas Involvement Website
Austrian Institute for Technologies Research Institute SHC Task 47, 48, 49, 51, 53, 55, 58
AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies Research Institute Solar Thermal, Solar Buildings, Industrial Process Heat SHC Task 42, 44, 45, 48, 49, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58
Johannes Kepler University Linz University Polymeric Materials SHC Task 39, 54
Graz University of Technology University SHC Task 42, 44, 47, 51, 58
Innsbruck University University Passive Houses, Solar Thermal SHC Task 42, 48, 53, 54, 55, 56
Bartenbach Lichtlabor Company Innovative Light Solutions SHC Task 50, 56
FH Salzburg University of Applied Sciences Energy efficient buildings SHC Task 51
BauXund Forschung und Beratung GmbH Research Institute SHC Task 51
Vienna Technical University University SHC Task 52, 58
FH Oberösterreich Forschungs&Entwicklungs GmbH University of Applied Sciences SHC Task 58
BEST - Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH Research Institute Bioenergy, Simulation, building control SHC Task 55

Actual Innovations

Compact thermal storages with high energy density: 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


# Mission innovation - Austrian climate and energy strategy -


Government Agencies Responsible for Solar Thermal, for Solar Building Activities

Austrian Climate and Energy Fund:

Federal Ministry for Climate Action:

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 75% 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

nachhaltige technologien, published by AEE INTEC,

HLK - Fachportal für Heizung, Lüftung und Klima

Der österreichische Installateur