The highest share from the energy consumption balance in Europe is represented by heating and cooling (approx. 50%). Solar thermal collectors could be used to cover a significant percent from this energy demand, especially in countries with an increased amount of solar radiation like Turkey and Romania. Moreover, implementing large scale (building integrated) flat plate solar thermal collectors (FPSTC) could help achieving (total or partially) energy autonomy from fossil fuels. However, the solar thermal market is having a strong decrease in recent years which shows that the market is still in development. The problems are: high system costs, low public awareness, and lack of political support in many countries. Mass manufacturing of solar thermal collector components needs to address the challenge of producing more, while consuming less materials and energy, creating less waste. The use of building integrated FPSTC with selective coatings can increase the overall sustainability by providing heat to the water/air systems of the buildings. Glazed FPSTC may be used for medium temperature to meet other needs such as cooling. The unglazed collectors are usually low cost collectors and used for low temperature space heating and to pre-heat the domestic hot water (DHW). The main problems for the glazed solar collectors are the cost, un-attractive design and difficulties for integrating into buildings or facades. The key problem in the unglazed absorbers is to have solar spectral selectivity, thus good efficiency, while having good mechanical durability against the environmental conditions.
The vision of the consortium is to develop innovative solar thermal solutions (glazed and unglazed) for Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB). The project has an integrated approach, from material to mass manufacturing of solar thermal collectors