Shadowy Existence - How Solar Thermal Energy Is Helping to Shape the Energy Transition

The smarter E Podcast Episode 171 | April 4, 2024 | Language: German

Electricity or heat, or perhaps both? If you have a roof, you are spoiled for choice. Although solar collectors are significantly more efficient than photovoltaic modules, they tend to lead a shadowy existence in the public eye. Yet solar thermal energy can not only heat domestic bath water, but also supply industry with process heat and feed entire heating networks.

The Solar Thermal Symposium in Bad Staffelstein has been dedicated to solar thermal energy for 33 years. How has solar thermal energy changed since then? What technical innovations are there and what contribution does it make to the energy transition? We talk about this with the symposium's technical director, Dr. Korbinian Kramer from Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg.


  • 05:58 What are the advantages of solar thermal energy over photovoltaics? Why are they not used more?
  • 07:22 How and where can solar thermal play to its strengths in the context of the energy transition?
  • 20:20 An important topic at the symposium is PVT technology. What is it? What are its advantages and where is it used?
  • 14:25 What role can solar thermal energy play in heating networks and what about process heat in industry?

About The smarter E Podcast

The smarter E podcast is all about the current trends and developments in a renewable, decentralized and digital energy industry. Our moderators Tobias Bücklein and Zackes Brustik welcome and interview personalities who shape our industry and drive developments forward. A new episode is published every Thursday.

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About Dr. Korbinian Kramer and Fraunhofer ISE

Dr. Korbinian Kramer, Coordinator for Solar Thermal Energy, Fraunhofer ISE

Dr. Korbinian Kramer holds a degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on renewable energies. He holds a doctorate in the field of strategic innovation management on the influence of standardization on innovation in the solar thermal industry. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (since 2005) he heads a working group for testing, quality assurance and technical characterization of solar thermal systems and heat pumps. His expertise includes involvement in standardization work in this field for more than 16 years and over 50 publications.

He is also coordinator for solar thermal energy at Fraunhofer ISE. From 2009 to 2021, he was a lecturer in solar thermal energy at the University of Freiburg. Since 2020, he has been Chairman of ISO Technical Committee 180 on Solar Energy.

With around 1400 employees, Fraunhofer ISE is the largest solar research institute in Europe. We work towards a sustainable, economical, safe and socially just energy supply system based on renewable energies.

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