Cost reduction in solar thermal energy by standardized components and interfaces

Brief description

To achieve the climate protection targets set by the Federal Government, the use of renewable energies for heat generation, especially solar thermal energy, is of vital importance. However, the market development for thermal solar systems and their components currently clearly remains below the original expectations. This is primarily caused by the relatively high heat generation costs of solar thermal systems compared to other renewable heat generation technologies. Therefore, it is crucial to significantly reduce the costs of solar thermal energy to essentially increase its percentage within the future energy mix.

The project objective is to reduce the solar heat generation costs by approx. 40 % to increase the competitiveness of solar thermal energy versus other heat generation technologies. This objective shall be primarily achieved as follows:

  1. Standardization of components such as collectors, stores, controller and mounting systems, combined with a significantly simplified installation as well as an increase in possible combinations and the resulting competition.
  2. Reduction of manufacturing costs by standardization and intensified mass production, especially for B and C parts with relatively low unit prices but a significant impact on the overall costs due to their frequent use.
  3. Increase in the thermal performance of the systems by avoiding installation mistakes, e.g. an insufficient thermal insulation of hydraulic connections or incorrectly positioned temperature sensors. Systems which can be easily installed and a high industrial prefabrication level / modular construction.

To efficiently achieve the main project objective, i.e. the reduction of the solar thermal energy cost by approx. 40 %, the complete project is based on a transdisciplinary approach. Therefore, the three joint research partners IGTE, Fraunhofer ISE and Fraunhofer IAO are in charge of working on the key issues, in close alignment and cooperation with the manufacturers of complete systems and individual components (industry partners) and the organizations relevant for solar thermal energy (project support). The joint research project is coordinated by IGTE.


Project duration

04/2016 - 03/2019


Project partners

  • Fraunhofer ISE und IAO
  • CitrinSolar GmbH
  • Emz-Hanauer GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Ernst-Schweizer AG, Metallbau
  • GREENoneTEC Solarindustrie GmbH
  • KBB Kollektorbau GmbH
  • Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik
  • Solvis GmbH und Co. KG
  • Bundesverband für Solarwärme e. V. (BSW)
  • Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt)
  • Zentralverband des Deutschen Dachdeckerhandwerks e.V. (ZVDH)



"Solarthermie im Kostencheck", BINE Informationsdienst, December 7, 2016

S. Fischer; S. Bachmann; M. Gerschitzka; H. Drück: "Neue Ansätze zur Kostenreduzierung von solarthermischen Systemen - Erste Ergebnisse des Forschungsprojektes KoST". 27th Symposium Thermische Solarenergie, May 10-12, 2017, Bad Staffelstein, Germany pdf icon



The research project "Cost reduction in solar thermal energy by standardized components and interfaces" (acronym "KoST") is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) via the Project Management Jülich (PtJ) under grant number 0325860A and is co-financed by the involved industry partners.


This image shows Dr.-Ing. Harald Drück

Dr.-Ing. Harald Drück


Research Coordinator and Team Lead

This image shows Dr.-Ing. Stephan Fischer

Dr.-Ing. Stephan Fischer


Team Lead

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