Solar heating technologies collect thermal energy from the sun and use this heat for drying purposes, for space heating/ cooling, or to provide process heat. With the advanced solar process heat technologies, almost 50% of head demand in the industrial sector could potentially be met.
Heat in the lower temperature range (<80°C) can be provided with commercially available systems, such as flat plate collectors (FPC) and evacuated tube collectors (ETC). For medium-temperature processes, ultra-high vacuum FPC or ETC with concentrators can generate temperatures of up to 200°C. Solar concentrators like parabolic dish collectors, parabolic trough collectors, and Linear Fresnel collectors can generate compressed steam with temperatures of up to 400°C.
Additionally, solar thermal-driven technologies can be used for cooling or air-conditioning purposes.
The costs of solar heat for industrial process heat strongly depend on the process temperature level, demand continuity, project size, and the level of solar radiation of the site. The prices of solar heat projects are falling since 2010. In 2014, the weighted-average installed costs of 11 solar heat in industry projects were 1,679 USD/kW, while the average of 15 plants commissioned in 2020 dropped to 531 USD/kW, a decrease of 68%.