The International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Program was established in 1977. The Program’s work is accomplished through the international collaborative effort of experts from Member countries and the European Union.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • accelerates the pace of technology development,
  • promotes standardization,
  • enhances national R&D
  • permits national specialization, and
  • saves time and money.

The Program is headed by an Executive Committee composed of one representative from each Member country and Sponsor organizations, while the management of the individual projects is the responsibility of project managers (Operating Agents) who are selected by the Executive Committee.

The Program’s work is enhanced through collaboration with other IEA Programmes (eg Photovoltaic Power Systems Program, Energy in Buildings and Communites Program, and SolarPACES Program) and solar trade associations in Europe, North America, and Australia
Together they are working to increase the awareness of national and international government bodies and policy makers and to encourage industry to develop and deploy new solar thermal products and services. By 2025, the SHC Programme and affiliated associations envision solar thermal technologies providing 10-15% of the total energy demand in the OECD countries. For Europe, the goal is even more optimistic with the Joint Declaration for a European Directive to Promote Renewable Heating and Cooling calling for 25% of the EU heating and cooling to be supplied by renewables in 2020.