Task 48
Task 48
SHC Task 48

QA & Support Measures for Solar Cooling

Project (Task) Subtasks

The work in this Task is organized in four Subtasks:

  • Subtask A: Quality procedure on component level - Marco Calderoni, POLIMI, Italy
  • Subtask B: Quality procedure on system level - Alexander Morgenstern, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany
  • Subtask C: Market support measures - Stephen D. White, CSIRO, Australia
  • Subtask D: Dissemination and policy advice - Uli Jakob, Green Chiller Association, Germany

Each Subtask consists of several work packages with specific focus and results. The Subtasks are described in more detail in the subsequent sections.

Subtask A: Quality Procedure on Component Level

Marco Calderoni, POLIMI, Italy

This subtask concentrates on developing tools and deliverables permitting to show the level of quality of the most critical components of the solar cooling and heating system. These components are mainly the chiller, the heat rejection device, the pumps and the solar collectors. The subtask is structured in the following sections:

A1: Chiller characterization

In this work, the characterization of the chillers (absorption and adsorption) will be achieved in close cooperation with the ongoing work achieved in IEA Annex 34 and IEA SHC Task 44 groups. This characterisation will be based on both steady state and transient performance. Several participants own testing facilities so this task will be based mainly on laboratory measurements. The tests will be carried out in conformity to a common testing protocol, according to which aging effects could be also investigated. The tests conditions will permit to characterise the chiller behaviour over the entire operating range that is typical for solar cooling. In this way, the quality level of the chillers will be assessed from the seasonal performance point of view. In addition, the tests will permit to give inputs for system design tools.

A2: Life cycle analysis at component level

In this activity, the LCA approach to Solar Cooling systems initiated by IEA Task 38 will be further developed so as to give a ready to use tool allowing to estimate during Subtask C for selected generic schemes the energy and environmental overall impacts of the system. The creation of the assemblies related to the plant components and materials, supported by manufacturer's data and eventually by direct inspection and monitoring of the industrial processes for the most relevant plant components will be carried out. Provided that the construction of a complete data base of life cycle inventories for components, activities and materials is a difficult task, through the determination of the impact factors parametric analysis in respect to the data accuracy, solar fraction, recycling rate of basic materials and other relevant variables will be carried out.

A3: Heat rejection

In this section an overview about existing and novel concepts for heat rejection for solar cooling will be carried out. Recommendations will be given about which heat rejection measure has to be employed under different boundary conditions (climate, system concept etc.), always tracking the 2 main objectives: investment & operation cost minimization and re-cooling performance and efficiency. For good selected components, if possible, an effort of performance characterisation will be done in partnership with manufacturers.

A4: Pumps efficiency and adaptability

A state of the art analysis will be conducted on this component in close cooperation with ongoing IEA-SHCP Tasks 44 and 45, where these issues are tackled as well. From this starting point, an investigation will be done on the best practices for electric consumption reduction for pumping in the different hydraulic loops of a solar cooling system. A particular focus will be addressed to the adaptability of the technology to part load production conditions. Best practice will be valorised always including the compromise between efficiency and simplicity.

A5: Conventional solar collection

In this section a review of existing material on the solar loop components (collector and supporting structures), in close cooperation with the ongoing Task 45 SHCP-IEA will be worked out. The objective will be to select the necessary information for the quality insurance tools to develop in the other subtasks (e.g. design, etc.) and in particular: collector mathematical models (e.g., TRNSYS), cost reduction potential of different solutions (e.g., drainback technology, prefabricated and easy to install supporting structures) and best practices.

A6: State of the art on new collector & characterization

An extensive market overview of existing concentrating collectors will be conducted so as to create easy to consult database (like the existing Solar Key mark one for non concentrating collectors). This database will be periodically updated and extended with information relating the certification process of such collectors. No standard is existing at the moment but this situation should change during the Task duration. This activity may as well try to assist the solar concentrating industry to accelerate its certification recognition and then the possibility to standardised performance characterisation. Target market needs in technical and economical terms are provided. New components and approaches, currently under development, will be included into the survey and their possible role in the future market on solar cooling and refrigeration will be assessed.


Estimated effort is 6 to 12 person-months per Participant (country) and 12 person-months for the Subtask Leader for the specific work for Subtask Leadership for the whole duration of the Task.


  • D-A1: Technical report on the characterization method(s) which are adopted and selected for chillers in cooperation with other activities on the topic. The deliverable will contain as well a database including the ongoing characterisation values from existing and tested chillers 
  • D-A2: Data base of life cycle inventories for components for LCA method tool (see D-B2)
  • D-A3: Technical report on heat rejection including sections related to market available products census, including costs, efficiency criteria ranking and performance characterisation.
  • D-A4: Technical report on best practices for pumping systems: including both efficiency and adaptability in solar cooling systems
  • D-A5: Report on best practices on solar collection components for quality, reliability and cost effectiveness
  • D-A6: State of the art of commercial product database build up and periodic update (1 per year) for concentrating solar collectors and including certification process status

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Subtask B: Quality procedure on system level

Alexander Morgenstern, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany

This subtask concentrates on developing tools and deliverables permitting to show the level of quality of the solar cooling and heating systems. In order to achieve this goal, a procedure has to be developed extending the quality characteristics from a component level to a system level. In a second step an extension of the procedure from single stationary states to a performance prediction over a whole year need to be developed. Thus subtask B is closely linked to subtask A and its results.

The subtask is structured as follows:

B1: System/Subsystem characterization & field performance assessment

In this work, the characterization of the solar cooling systems will be achieved in close cooperation with ongoing work achieved in IEA Annex 34 and IEA SHC Task 44 groups. This characterisation will be based on the output of activity A1 and from other results obtained in characterisation for the major components in Subtask A (pumps, heat rejection, collector). This characterisation will be done for steady state behaviour but as well transient behaviour. Several participants own testing facilities so this task will be based on real measurement of performances. The characterization on component level in subtask A will be extended to whole systems in order to obtain procedures for performance prediction based on standardised and generally accepted conditions. The overall characterisation will be crucial to qualify the quality level of the best practice systems on the performance point of view. In addition, it will permit to give inputs for design tool obtained in activity B4.

B2: Good practice for DEC design and installation

This activity is aimed at producing a technological survey and update on the Best practice systems of Desiccant cooling systems. This technology will not be the major focus in the ongoing Task concerning the other activity so this work package should constitute a mean to keep on an observatory eye on this specific technology evolution.

B3: Life cycle analysis at system level

This activity is strongly linked to the A2 activity (transversal activity on LCA). A valorisation of the work done at component level in A2 and creation of the system level database and tool will be the goal of this work. Life cycle analysis on system level includes essential information about energy performance of the whole system, thus this work will be strongly linked to the results of the work in B1 and possibly integrated into the reference calculation tool in B4.

B4: Simplified design tool used as a reference calculation tool : design facilitator

The development of a software tool called design facilitator for the fast pre-design will be based on the collection of existing characterisation models and results of successful projects including technical and non-technical (economics) issues. It will include procedures of system and subsystem characterization developed in B1 as well as the life cycle analysis of B3. It shall help to support planners in the process of evaluation and feasibility studies of similar projects.

B5: Quality procedure document/check lists

The previous experiences of IEA Task 38 as well as outputs of Subtask A are summarized and updated in guidelines for design, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance. This document may be an input to standardisation procedures for whole solar cooling systems.

This document will include dimensioning parameters and technical hints. Practical output in this guideline will be useful advice for calls for tenders and checklists for the technical design as a support to architects and planners.

B6: Self detection on monitoring procedure

Starting from the statement of existing efficient system control (overview achieved in former IEA Task 38), a second generation of control system is developed which includes self detection of faults and malfunctioning of the process based on a reduced monitoring. This new powerful functionality will be a key component assuring long term good reliability and performance of the system.
This activity will include beside an update of good practice on the monitoring procedure point of view starting from the experience and procedure developed during IEA SHC Task 38.

B7: Quantitative quality and cost competitiveness criteria for systems

In this activity, a proposal for an appropriate evaluation procedure for the technical and economical performance assessment of large systems is set up and tested with real cases. It delivers the basis for a comparable assessment of the installed plants independently of installation site and the specific boundary conditions.

Beside, a reflexion will be carried out on minimum economical ratios to estimate the competitiveness of solar cooling against concurrent technologies

B8: Application for validation of preselected best practice examples

This work package is focused on the description and the assessment of existing installations and demonstration projects with solar cooling systems selected in activity C1 (transversal activity following C1). The activities may consider variable applications and boundary conditions implementing experimental and monitoring activities on the selected systems, the composition of results and the assessment of the facilities.


Estimated effort is 9 to 24 person-months per Participant (country) and 15 person-months for the Subtask Leader for the specific work for Subtask Leadership for the whole duration of the Task.


  • D-B1: Report on system/subsystem characterization & field performance assessment
  • D-B2: Collection of good practice for DEC design and installation,
  • D-B3: LCA method tool (which should contain at the same time a significant database adapted to the most popular solar cooling system components and an user friendly interface permitting to rapidly make an assessment of the main LC criteria : energetic payback, avoided CO2 potential)
  • D-B4: Software tool for the fast pre-design and performance estimation of best practice projects
  • D-B5: Quality procedure document/check lists guidelines,
  • D-B6: Self detection on monitoring procedure
  • D-B7: Collection of criteria to qualify the quality and cost competitiveness of solar cooling systems
  • D-B8: Report on validation of preselected best practice examples

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Subtask C: Market support measures

Stephen D. White, CSIRO, Australia

The work within this subtask is related to create a panel of measures to support the market. These measures will use the results of Subtasks A and B and will above all explore the possibilities to identify, rate and verify the quality and performance of solar cooling solutions.  The resulting tools are intended to provide a framework that will enable policy makers to craft suitable interventions (eg certificates, label and contracting etc) that will support solar cooling on a level playing field with other renewable energy technologies. Even if the completion of these tools will not be achieved rapidly, the subtask should permit to initiate all and maybe conclude some of them.

For that purpose, the subtask is structured in the following way:

C1: Review of relevant international standards, rating and incentive systems

A large number of government incentive programmes and industry development programmes have been instituted in different jurisdictions, to assist the renewable energy and building energy efficiency industries. These programmes call up procedures for quantifying benefits, rating effectiveness and achieving robust measurement and verification. A database of relevant standards, processes and incentives will be created and links to the needs of the solar heating and cooling industry will be analysed. Gaps in current standards and quality assessment processes will be identified.

C2: Methodology for performance assessment, rating and benchmarking

Methodologies will be developed  in collaboration with the work achieved in the B7 activity, and then used  to quantify performance and quality of (i) alternative air-conditioning and renewable energy technologies and (ii) current solar air-conditioning systems. Low and high performance bounds will be identified and benchmarked, along with the factors that most influence high performance.  Benchmarks will be used to set a coherent rating framework depending on the local conditions (climate, technology, application). This rating framework will enable stakeholders to understand and set design criteria and performance targets for performance based solutions. The rating framework will also guide design requirements for prescriptive solutions, and provide information for road mapping in activity D4.

C3: Selection and standardization of best practice solutions

From the past and present experience with small, medium and large size solar air-conditioning systems, a reduced and documented set of system design schemes and control schemes will be selected, which exhibit favourable system operation in terms of optimised performance and reliability. Initially, around 10 case study configurations will be selected and used to define and standardise the engineering criteria which lead to target reliability, efficiency and cost competitiveness. High attention will be drawn to the standardisation of the system design schemes and defining the constraints of applicability of these standardised designs. In order to give support to planners and installers a selection of proven system designs including hydraulic schemes, will be detailed in the form of design guidelines for heating, cooling and ventilation of commercial buildings,.

C4:  Measurement and verification procedures

Building upon the work of the previous Task 38, minimum metering requirements, processes and analysis procedures will be defined for assessment of solar performance, in a manner suitable for (i) performance based qualification and (ii) prescribed deemed energy saving certification.

C5: Labeling possibilities investigation

This activity will be dedicated to the investigation on the creation of a Solar cooling label itself or (more probable) on the creation of specific Solar cooling extension(s) to existing "Green quality" labels such as LEED or Green Building Council tools. This activity will be mainly exploratory and should firstly make a full state of the art of the labeling process which could welcome the solar cooling technology on their scope. From these informations, investigations on how to integrate them or even how to create an independent Solar Cooling Label will be investigated and theorized if accurate.

C6: Collaboration with T45 for contracting models

This activity will develop contracting models for solar cooling systems. For that purpose, a narrow collaboration will be established with ongoing IEA SHC Task 45 on Large systems which will specifically work on this topic but focusing on large district heating and cooling systems. An extension of and selection of most accurate models will be developed for Solar Thermally Driven Cooling and Heating systems.

C7: Certification process definition for small systems

This activity will be focusing on the development of a certification process applied for small size solar cooling systems. The opportunity of such an initiative ongoing in Australia will be an interesting case study and all the work achieved in the subtasks A and B in addition to other activities inside this subtask will give tools to reach a coherent method to qualify the quality of the solar cooling systems : software tool, minimum performance requirements and installation / O&M methodology, etc. Through this example, an extension and generalisation could be achieved towards other countries and other range of cooling power.


Estimated effort is 3 to 12 person-months per Participant (country) and 12 person-months for the Subtask Leader for the specific work for Subtask Leadership for the whole duration of the Task.


  • D-C1: Report and database of international standards, rating and incentive systems relevant to Solar Cooling
  • D-C2: Rating framework developed with benchmarks for qualifying solar cooling performance and quality
  • D-C3: Selection and description of best practices into standardized engineering requirements,
  • D-C4: Minimum procedures developed for measurement and verification
  • D-C5: Report on labeling investigations,
  • D-C6: Models of contracting for solar cooling projects,
  • D-C7: Report about the certification process for small systems in Australia including generalization of the methodology to potential other interested countries and cooling power range.

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Subtask D: Dissemination and policy advice

Uli Jakob, Green Chiller Association, Germany

The work in this subtask covers horizontal activities related to subtasks A, B, and C. The objectives of this subtask are the implementation of targeted promotion activities based on the collective work results; production of dissemination material for external communication; the implementation of knowledge transfer measures towards the technical stakeholders; the development of instruments and their provision for policy makers and the creation and promotion of certification and standardization schemes. The subtask is structured as follows:

D1: Web site

A website included into the IEA SHC portal will be established. This website will profit from a lot of mirror sites present among the participants of this Task, benefitting from their popularity to increase the number of visualized pages.

This website will firstly present the Task results but it should welcome as soon as possible the presentation of first results of certification and/or Quality label tools.
If available within the end of the Task work, a draft of a public database of labeled products will be presented in this website.

D2: Best Practices brochure

This activity is aimed at producing a High quality brochure presenting the selected reduced number of Best practices. The length of the document should be nearly of 30 pages. Firstly in pdf format, this brochure will be printed out on demand of the participating countries as well as translated into national languages.

It main focus will be to constitute a media support to disseminate on the success stories available on solar cooling through several fundamental criteria : reliability, efficiency/performance, cost competitiveness.

D3: Simplified short brochure

A synthetic brochure will be produced so as to present the main results of the Task. This brochure will have maximum 4 to 6 pages and should underline what was the methodology used to progress on the development of Quality procedures for solar cooling and what could be the results on creation of tools for certification, labelling and policy support. This brochure will be edited jointly by the Subtask Leader (Greenchiller) and IEA SHC program.

D4: Guidelines for Roadmaps on Solar cooling

As a result of this work package and a summary of the whole Task activities, a list of recommendations for policy options to develop the industry will be published. This list will be structured so as to become guidelines for roadmaps on solar cooling.

So as to organise it as well as possible, a review of existing roadmaps on Solar Thermal technology will be done (Austria for example) taking inspiration of their own methodology and approach but updating it with Activities results and outputs. Beside, a review of the impact of existing incentive schemes will be carried out. This review will be closely linked to C1 activity but focussing on the efficiency of the schemes for the development of the local market (increase of turnover, improvement on quality of installations, ..).

These guidelines will include proposal for policy measures and how to make their promotion towards the local and national policy makers. If this activity leads to converging and coherent international policy measures, there could be an interest to create a final common worldwide roadmap for solar cooling, creating an added value to these guidelines.

D5: Updated specific training seminars adapted to the Quality procedure

The result of this work package is the update of the existing training material for installers and planners, already built during IEA SHC Task 38. This update will be on the technical side (available products, new components, etc..) but as well on the adaptation of the content to the Quality procedure concept.

The overall set of training material will be divided into different specific sets: one set for engineering companies, one for installers and one for building owner/contractor/utility/decision maker.

The training material will permit then to organise seminars for each targeted public in the interested participating countries.

D6: Outreach report

Customer and policy maker workshops
The task participants will organise at least once per year and in margin of one of the Expert meetings a international workshop dedicated to the policy makers and potential customers. This action will be organised during international conferences (INTERSOLAR in Munich or Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels for example) so as to touch important decision makers on solar cooling (investors, distributors, ESCO�s, etc..). The workshops will present the results of the work done in the Task and try to constitute an important lobbying and promotion action. A mix and marriage of R&D institutes and industry partners will make presentations. The organisation of such workshops will be prepared by building inside this activity sets of presentations on solar cooling available for organisers. A list of contact in partnership with National Professional associations (solar, chiller, air conditioning, ..)  will be built as well to create a useful database for organisers.
Industry workshops
The task participants will organise half a day national workshops dedicated to the industrial players involved in the sector (solar thermal manufacturers and installers, thermally driven cooling industry, planners). This will happen preferably once a year and before fixed experts meeting to as to test and make a feedback on the last developments achieved inside the Task. Thanks to these events, a full retrofit process will be achieved and this will permit to make participate industry interested bodies without implicating them directly and deeply inside the Task R&D work. Short report will have to be done for each event.
Industry newsletters
For further dissemination of the achieved results of the R&D activities a semi-annual electronic newsletter for the industrial players will be published.
Evidence for policy actions
This activity will be aimed at organising evidence for policy / lobbying actions to promote solar cooling : preparation of specific documents (after identifying an or several efficient funding mechanism(s), an existing scenario analysis tool provided by CSIRO could be used to identify and optimise impact of evidence for policy actions), networking, preparation of press release, creation of articles relating the Task activity. Organisation of meetings with policy makers at national levels.


Estimated effort is 6 to 18 person-months per Participant (country) and 12 person-months for the Subtask Leader for the specific work for Subtask Leadership for the whole duration of the Task.


  • D-D1: Website dedicated to the Task
  • D-D2: Best practices high quality brochure,
  • D-D3: Simplified short brochure,
  • D-D4: Guidelines for Roadmaps on Solar cooling,
  • D-D5: Training activity:
    • D5.1: Sets of training material package
    • D5.2: Training seminars feedback and description report
  • D-D6: Outreach report
  • D6.1: Customer and policy maker workshops,
  • D6.2: Organising national industry workshops, industry workshops in national languages in participating countries addressing target groups (related to Experts meetings)
  • D6.3: Publishing a semi-annual e-newsletter for the industry
  • D6.4 Report on lobbying actions describing all the actions and their impacts