The area of research and development is a fundamental part of SOLID, which and is continuous enhanced. Excellent cooperation with universities (theory) and business (practice) lead to fruitful exchanges and know-how transfer in order to push innovations and spread the technology.

SOLID is involved in numerous national and international research projects, and is also coordinator of R+D projects. In its core business, large-scale thermal solar plants, SOLID is the national leader.
The research portfolio includes solar process heat, optimization of solar thermal cooling, integration of large scale heat pumps, collector devolpment, storage technology as well as automated function control of solar thermal installations.


IEA Task 45 Projektmeeting Wärmepumpe Andritz  Green Blue Energy Factory Award 

Current research projects from SOLID


sBSc – „scaled BIG SOLAR control“

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Development of optimized control strategies for large-scale solar thermal plants with absorption heat pumps and seasonal pit storage

The goal of the project “sBSc – scaled BIG SOLAR control” is the development of optimized control strategies and related software for a cost-efficient operation of large-scale solar thermal plant with an absorption heat pump and seasonal pit storage for urban district heating support. The goal of the project „sBSc – scaled BIG SOLAR control“ is the development of control strategies and software for a cost-efficient operation of large-scale solar thermal plants with seasonal pit storage and absorption heat pump for urban district heating support.

The system layout and the used components of the project “sBSc” are based on the project proposal of “BIG Solar Graz”. Within this project a large-scale solar thermal system, a seasonal pit storage, an absorption heat pump and an auxiliary heating system are planned. The system layout is highly innovative and worldwide unique in the planned size.

The control of such solar systems is the major challenge for a cost-effective operation. It is necessary to minimize the risk of outage and malfunction and to optimize the control strategy for energy provision in an economically and technically reasonable way. The integration of an absorption heat pump and the large number of interconnections with other system components represent a potential source of uncertainty. To minimize the implementation risks for “BIG Solar” projects and to guarantee an optimum operation it is essential to analyse appropriate control technologies beforehand.
For this reason a test facility with a small-scale setup with the main components and the hydraulic layout of “BIG Solar Graz” will be installed and simulated. A hardware-in-the-loop simulation is used to operate the absorption heat pump and to simulate the other main components as heat storage, solar collector and the auxiliary heating. The control strategy of the test facility will be implemented and optimized regarding to the foreseen control tasks of “BIG Solar Graz”. The optimized control strategies, the control software and the gained knowledge can be applied for “BIG Solar Graz” and other similar projects.




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PITAGORAS  - „Sustainable urban Planning with Innovative and low energy Thermal And power Generation from Residual And renewable Sources”
PITAGORAS is a European, cooperative research and demonstration project, funded by the European Union through the program FP7-ENERGY-SMARCITIES-2012.
The project PITAGORAS is focused on efficient integration of city districts with industrial parks through smart thermal grids. The overall objective of the project is to demonstrate a highly replicable, cost-effective and high energy efficient large scale energy generation system that will allow sustainable urban planning of very low energy city districts.
The concept of the project will be demonstrated at two different European cities in Italy and Austria.
The demonstration plant in Italy will be realized in the city of Brescia. Main focus there is to implement an ORC unit and develop an intelligent waste heat recovery system to for a steel foundry.
Main technologies to be implemented in the Austrian demonstration plant are a Seasonal thermal energy storage system (appr. 60.000 m3) for the management of surplus waste heat from industry in the city thermal network, supported by a large scale solar thermal system (appr. 10.000 m2).
“The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under gran agreement nº ENER/FP7EN/314596/PITAGORAS”



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METHODIQA itself is a software, ensuring quality standards during a plant´s total operation time. It is based on an automatic software analysis and evaluation, measuring and covering current as well as historical operation data.
Central for the objectives´ success is an “intelligent” monitoring system, which captures current data and identifies potentials, which improve the systems overall performance.
The software´s main characteristics are:
•    Calculating benchmark and technical figures for heating supports
•    Provides different plant visualization options and operation data
     (current or future trends, etc.)
•    Provides an automatic failure diagnostic and optimizing potentials
•    Calculates and illustrates pre defined reports about plant operation etc.

METHODIQA´s current objective is the monitoring system´s improvement of biomass plants, solar thermal plants as well as solar-biomass and fossil fuel combination plants. Other technology applications will maybe be included.



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The EU CommONEnergy project focuses on refurbishing existing and new shopping malls to transform them into lighthouses of energy efficient architectures and systems. It has the objective to re-conceptualize shopping malls through deep retrofitting, develop a systemic approach made of technologies and solution sets as well as methods and tools to support their implementation and to assess their impact in a life cycle approach.
SOLID will install small demonstrative solar system installations (60m²) for test purposes. Specific issues Solid will investigate include system integration and control algorithms matching the functional and performance needs of a shopping mall.
The main concept to advance the state-of-the-art includes:
•    Integrative environment modeling;
•    Energy-economic evaluation tools;
•    Lean construction and management procedures;
•    Environmental and socio-cultural impact assessment.
Within the commercial buildings stock, the project focuses on existing and new shopping malls.


Smart E(nergy)-Learning

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The aim of Smart E-Learning is to develop individiual  professional competence for SMART Grids. The specific Trainings will be created by support of the involved SME`s and provided for the Project Consortium.


The Trainings are defined in:

1.) Smart Grids for heat, power, gas, cooling
2.) supply/operation of smart grids
3.) technologies for smart grids
4.) cross cutting issues for smart grids


The Projekt is funded by the BMWFJ (Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth) Program: R&D Competence for the economy.


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The aim of SDHplus is to foster the changeover of district heating to solar energy by:


1) Creating show cases for successful integration of solar thermal into various specific
    district heating and cooling situations


2) Developing and pilot implementing new business models for SDH focusing on
    situations, where renewable district heating is used for enabling buildings with high
    energy performance.


3) Developing and pilot implementing new market strategies for district heating with
    solar energy (e.g. green tariffs, feed-in models, …)


The SDHplus project builds on the previous IEE project SDHtake-off, further aims are the transfer of SDH know-how to six European learning countries as well as the institutionalising of high level dissemination events at European level.

IEA Task 48

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The main objective of this Task is to assist a strong and sustainable market development of solar cooling systems. It is focusing on systems including any solar thermal cooling technology which can be used in heating mode. The proposed project is intended therefore to create a logical follow up of the IEA SHC work already carried out by trying to find solutions to make the solar thermally driven heating and cooling systems at the same time efficient, reliable and cost competitive. SOLID contributes to this task its experience in worldwide installations and operations of large scale solar thermal cooling plants, e.g. in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and USA.


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Solar thermal cooling systems can only make energetic sense if they consume significantly less electrical energy than conventional compression chillers. Unfortunately, in many realised systems that is not the case. Therefore, this project aims at reducing the primary energy consumption of solar thermal cooling systems by means of improved system configurations, improved components and control algorithms. SOLID cooperates in this project with Austria’s leading energy research institutions.


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The focus of the project is to develop a system concept to guarantee an uncomplicated stagnation performance in large solar thermal systems (> 100m²) to afford an implementation of a partly drained system. The development of an established evaluation method, which describes the main functions (draining, filling and de-aeration) in theoretical-physical interrelationship and which allows relevant parameters to determine geometries and neuralgic components, is the essential part. SOLID is involved in the project for its experience in engineering, installation and operation of large scale systems. A partly drained large solar plant will be installed and monitored in the project.


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With the international research project IEA SHC task 49 – Solar Process Heat for Production and Advanced Applications “ experts from the whole world are concerned with developing special solar thermal collectors. Additionally the experts are looking for new possibilities for integration of solar thermal technology into industrial processes.


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The InSun project aims to demonstrate the reliability and quality of large scale solar thermal systems for different types of industrial process heat applications on medium and high temperature levels. Within this project SOLID installs a solar plant with HT-gluatmugl collectors for an Austrian meat factory for steam pre-heating up to 95°C with a total collector area of 1200 m². These demonstration plants should give a significant input to the standardization process in terms of construction, integration and dimensioning of this young and innovative technology.


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This project analyzes the integration of decentralized heat sources into domestic heat grids technically, and economically. With an intelligent integration of heat sources and loads the usage of primary energy is estimated to be reduced. Furthermore a financial benefit for all participants on the grid is expected.

Large Scale Heat Pump Waterworks Andritz

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Direct thermal use, longer operation time and short time buffering of solar thermal energy by using a large scale heat pump will be monitored and optimized for the 3.855m² solar field in Graz Andritz. The covering of the total energy demand of the buildings is expected to rise from 30% to 50%.


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Central aim of IEA Task 45 is to connect the most substantial players through analysis, discussion of implemented and future projects and simulation based optimization of components and systems, as well as the development of components and systems standards beneath considerable cost reduction potential at coincidental increased system efficiency to reach the next generation of large solar thermal installations. The planned transfer to central players and stakeholders is essential for sustainable impact the current market development.



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The QSolSport - project will raise the energy efficiency potential of new and existing solar thermal systems for sports and recreational facilities through measurement and analysis. The project results will be implemented in guidelines, to ensure and improve the quality and efficiency of solar thermal systems for recreational and sport facilities.

GBE Factory

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The GBE Factory project aims at accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources for heating, cooling and electricity production in new or rehabilitated commercial and industrial buildings. Strong Business Models will be investigated and promoted to potential investors. GBE FACTORY brand will be created and virtuous companies will be awarded.  For further information about the project and events please visit the homepage.



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Market analysis in solar district heating and standard references for the integration of solar thermal into heating grids. Favourable conditions for market implementation in all over Europe are to be created.

Solar Cooling Monitor

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Evaluation of energy efficiency and operating performance of solar cooling plants for buildings. Hereby optimization potentials for future plants are to be found. S.O.L.I.D. measures the cooling systems at CGD bank in Lisboa.




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Business models for Energy Service Contracting (ESCo), acquisition of clients and creation of ESCos for biomass and/or solar thermal in partner countries. S.O.L.I.D. disseminates knowledge about these innovative plants all over Europe.


High Combi

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Systems with high solar fractions by use of innovative components and methods. One of the contributions of S.O.L.I.D. is the presentation of a reference plant in Austria.


IEA Task 38 -
Solare Klimatisierung und Kühlung

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Evaluation and optimation of solar cooling processes in planning, construction and monitoring. S.O.L.I.D. cooperates with partners on individual solutions for large housing projects and industrial applications. Existing systems are monitored in operation and a tool for pre-dimensioning in the project planning phase.


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Promotion of the market for trigeneration plants ( cooling, heating, electricity). S.O.L.I.D. installed such a system at Peitler winery, Leutschach, Austria.


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Optimization of re-cooling systems in solar cooling processes.

Basic conditions like legal aspects, availability of fresh water and hygiene are researched. Benefiting from its experience in the construction of complete cooling systems, S.O.L.I.D. evaluates the integration of different wet and dry cooling systems into absorption chiller machines.


IP Solar

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The R&D project ‘IP-Solar’ developed the scientific and technical basis for the prototype of an automated monitoring system for solar thermal installations. The main features of this system are automatic evaluation, operational surveillance and quality assurance of solar thermal plants. Comprehensive diagnostics detect system faults at an early stage and send notifications to the plant operator. Users of IP-Solar get detailed up-to-date and historical plant evaluations on an inter-net platform. IP-Solar is aimed at end users, plant operators and public institutions like e.g. funding authorities. End of 2011 the R&D project was completed but its development is ongoing to level the rising requests.

Promise Application

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Process optimization in selected industrial plants for use of renewable energies. S.O.L.I.D. develops a solar calculation tool for process heat and works on a solar business model for large scale solar plants.