The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 38 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries1.

Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC TCP)


Promoting standards for market uptake

The SHC TCP aims to promote the use of all aspects of solar thermal energy and increase the global market share of related technologies by engaging in research and development of components, materials and design as well as raising political and public awareness. In light of the fast pace with technology developments, recent activities include a focus on how industry standards can instil consumer confidence in products from all world regions. 

Testing a solar thermal collector (Cologne, Germany).*

Rigorous testing, certification schemes and international standards improve the quality, reliability and durability of technologies – and instil consumer confidence. While the first international standard for solar heating and cooling collectors was approved in 1994 (ISO 9086), the technology has improved since then. At that time it did not include durability and reliability tests now required by many national standards. As a result national certification bodies and laboratories did not adopt a uniform approach.

For these reasons, the SHC TCP set out to update and harmonise the 1994 test procedures and certification schemes. In 2013, the revised protocols led to approval of a new standard (EN ISO 9806:2013) that specifies test methods to assess the durability, reliability and safety of solar heating collectors, including procedures to characterise performance. The 2013 standard has been adopted by several certification schemes and standards bodies, such as the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), and used in test labs.

To promote adoption of the 2013 standard, the SHC TCP created the Global Solar Certification Network (GSCN), a framework for co-operation among representatives from industry, certification bodies and test labs in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. The GCSN promotes adoption of the global solar collector certification scheme (GSC). The GSC reduces the need for new testing, inspection and certification in each country where the products are commercialised.

To assess the likelihood that the 2013 standard was in use, the SHC TCP conducted a survey of 30 countries. Respondents were asked how likely they were to adopt the standard and what, if any changes could be made to improve it.

The survey results revealed that further improvements to the 2013 standard would be needed to increase the likelihood of its adoption in major international markets, in particular the call for additional testing requirements and further clarification of the test methodology in order to avoid misinterpretation by test laboratories and certification bodies. The ISO TC180 team is revising the 2013 standard to incorporate the findings of the SHC TCP survey with a view of adopting a uniform, harmonised international standard for solar thermal collectors through the GSC.

A description of the modifications to the standards and survey results are compiled in the final report, Utilisation of ISO9806:2013 in Global Solar Certification.

* Photo courtesy of TÜV Rheinland AG


  • Advanced lighting solutions for retrofitting buildings
  • Compact thermal energy storage
  • Large-scale solar heating and cooling systems
  • New-generation solar cooling and heating systems
  • Polymeric materials for solar thermal applications
  • Quality assurance and support measures for solar cooling systems
  • Solar energy and urban planning
  • Solar heat integration in industry processes
  • Solar rating and certification procedures
  • Solar renovation of non-residential buildings
  • Solar resource assessment and forecasting
  • Solar thermal and energy economics


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