March 14 - 2:00 to 3:30 PM (GMT/UTC)

District heating is a key component of the UK's strategy for net-zero heat in buildings, Solar heat can form a crucial zero carbon contributor to making low carbon district heat a reality. This webinar will break from the tradition and give a view of this exciting sector aimed at UK policymakers, outlining the successful work of funders, support mechanisms, and technology analysis.

The webinar is of interest to local and government officials looking to understand more about the potential of solar thermal district heating and crucially learn from deployment experience.

Q/A Session: This 90-minute webinar will include a 30-minute Q/A session, and a recording of the webinar will be made available online afterward.

The webinar is organized by the Solar Academy of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and hosted by ISES, the International Solar Energy Society.

Webinar Recording

Speakers / Presentations

Gernot WörtHer

Since September 2009, Gernot Wörther has worked with the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. Since 2023, he has been Deputy Managing Director and Senior Manager for Strategy. In previous positions, he was responsible for management accounting and program management. Within the field of management accounting, he was responsible for the operative budget of the climate and energy fund as well as the management of a yearly grant volume of approximately 600 million € per year.

Furthermore, Gernot Wörther was the Programme Manager for grant programs in electromobility, solar thermal energy, and climate change research. Previously, he worked as a Senior Grant Consultant, specializing in grants in CEE-Europe, focusing on environmental grants. Additionally, he has experience in project management, business development, and business informatics.

Gernot Wörther studied commerce at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the Vrije University of Amsterdam and specialized in business informatics and business psychology.

Presentation: The Austrian funding program "Big Solar Thermal"

Andrej Jentsch

Dr. Andrej Jentsch completed his studies in energy and process engineering at the TU Berlin in 2006 with a diploma thesis at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. 

He completed his doctorate in 2010 with the dissertation paper "A novel exergy-based concept of thermodynamic quality and its application to energy system evaluation and process analysis."

Since 2010, he has been Managing Director of Richtvert, a company specializing in applied science for an effective energy transition. Since 2012, he has managed the IEA DHC - the hub for international research on district heating and cooling for AGFW. Since 2017, he has increased his work for AGFW as a Project Manager, and starting in 2021, he coordinates the German Real laboratory of Large-Scale Heat Pumps in District Heating.

In 2022, with Euroheat and Power, he co-initiated the "10-Point Plan to accelerate the EU heat transition". In spring 2023, he was part of a multi-stakeholder meeting with the EU Commissioner on Energy on the issue of promoting an effective heating transition.

In the summer of 2023, Dr. Jentsch was awarded the "Recognition Award 2023 Market Development - Individual" by Cogen Europe for his outstanding efforts to bring science-based argumentation to the policy debate and, in particular, for educating the broader energy community and policymakers about the value of exergy-based systems analysis.
Presentation: Resource exergy analysis (REA) - A key to comprehensive technology assessment including solar heat networks

Magdalena Berberich

Magdalena Berberich studied energy and environmental technologies in Ansbach, as well as sustainable energy competence in Stuttgart. Since 2015, she has been working at Solites – Steinbeis Research Institute in Stuttgart, where she has been serving as the Vice Executive Director since 2021. 

Her expertise encompasses various facets, including the design and implementation of large-scale solar thermal systems, specialized knowledge in decarbonizing heat supply for district heating and large consumers, proficiency in sector coupling, and innovative Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems. Furthermore, her skills extend to developing and optimizing seasonal and multifunctional heat storages, enhancing energy efficiency, and integrating renewable energy sources into sustainable heating systems. She brings experience in developing simulation models and calculation tools for energy-related analyses and fostering energy-conscious behavior in various capacities.

Magdalena is a Subtask leader in IEA SHC Task 68 (from 2022 to 2025). She is a member of the Horizontal Working Group "100% renewable Districts" in the European Technology and Innovation Platform and collaborates in the Working Group on Long-Term Heat Storage, Germany. 

Presentation: Current market status of solar district heating systems in Germany and government support measures

Thomas Pauschinger

Thomas Pauschinger has been working as a scientist and consultant in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency in the heating sector since 1991. Since 2021, he has been responsible for international research cooperation at AGFW and has been the association's advisor for Baden-Württemberg. Previously, he worked long-term as a manager for the Steinbeis Research Institute Solites and for six years abroad as a consultant for public administrations. Thomas Pauschinger is the initiator and coordinator of numerous national and international market preparation projects for solar and renewable district heating. 

As an independent and neutral sector association, AGFW promotes combined heat and power and district heating and cooling on a national and international level. As a responsible organization for technical regulation and service provider for the industry, AGFW has been representing the interests of about 700 companies and organizations of the sector for more than 50 years with its technical, energy, and environmental policy, legal, and business management know-how.

Presentation: Challenges and opportunities for solar thermal in a rapidly transforming German district heating and cooling sector

George Bennett - Moderator

The Webinar will be moderated by George Bennett, Lead Technical Energy Advisor at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (UK). George is the UK ExCo member in the Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) TCP and a Mechanical Engineer by background with a professional and personal passion for decarbonizing heating and cooling.

Presentation: Introduction to IEA SHC Solar Academy and IEA SHC, as well as the motivation for this webinar and the context of the UK.

Robin Wiltshire - Moderator

Robin is the UK representative and current Chair of the IEA TCP on District Heating & Cooling. He has worked in the energy field for more than 20 years and strongly believes in the role of heat networks for a sustainable future and to enable greater penetration of renewable energy sources, including solar thermal.