As of late April, China is officially the 21st member of the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). “China is not only the largest market for solar thermal but also a centre for RD&D in solar heating and cooling technologies. Our collaboration will help speed up development and deployment of solar thermal worldwide,” says IEA SHC chairman Werner Weiss.
For years, Weiss has made an active effort to win China as a member of the SHC programme. China is the most important solar-thermal country to join the solar programme during Weiss’ tenure as its head but certainly not the first. South Africa and Singapore also joined the organisation under his leadership. Although China has a strong domestic market, its industry is striving for international recognition. The country’s membership in the SHC programme should contribute to that goal.
China will be represented on the IEA SHC Executive Committee by He Tao and Zhang Xinyu, both of CABR's Center for Quality Supervision and Testing of Solar Heating Systems. “After joining IEA SHC, we can collaborate and share successful experience with the outstanding solar thermal experts from the member countries, which will promote rapid and wide application of solar thermal in China”, says Mr He.
The Solar Heating and Cooling Programme was founded in 1977 as one of the first multilateral technology initiatives (implementing agreements) of the International Energy Agency.
The member countries of the programme collaborate on projects (referred to as “tasks”) in the field of research, development, demonstration (RD&D) and test methods for solar thermal energy and solar buildings.
Its mission is to "advance international collaborative efforts for solar energy to reach the goal set in the vision of contributing 50% of the low temperature heating and cooling demand by 2030."
Currently, membership discussions are on-going with other countries, including Chile, Qatar, and Brazil.