SHINE - Solar Heat Integration Network

SHINE is an international PhD education program and network on Solar Thermal Engineering and the follow-up to SolNet. It is coordinated by the Institute of Thermal Engineering at the University of Kassel, Germany. We provide the opportunity for manifold networking activities between PhD and Master students in the solar thermal field.

The networking activities started in 2006 with a Marie-Curie scholarship program on “Advanced solar heating and cooling in buildings” with ten PhD scholarships during 2006-2010. In 2011 and 2012 two SolNet courses took place supported by the German industry federations BSW and BdH. SHINE is our second scholarship-program with a focus on large solar heating systems and sorption stores started in October 2013 with 13 PhD scholarships.

Large solar heating systems are decisive to cover a major part of European low temperature heat demand by solar energy and therewith to meet European policy aims. However, today only a negligible share of solar heating systems installed in Europe are large units due to manifold technical and socio-economic obstacles. The challenge of solar thermal technology and the overall objective of the proposed initial training network is to supply heat in larger solar heating systems for applications like industrial processes, to feed-in into district heating networks, or sorption drying and cooling.

The obstacles will be approached with an innovative inter-disciplinary consortium, in total 13 PhD-scholarships focusing on Solar District HeatingSolar Heat for Industrial Processes, as well as Sorption Processes and Materials. started in 2014. The SHINE project also comprises a training program with five PhD courses and workshops on solar thermal engineering that are open also for other PhD students working in the field. Six universities and five private sector participants from six different European countries will provide research and training in cooperation with four associated partners from the private sector. 

The SHINE project will include detailed experiments with innovative material, components and systems, system integration analysis and numerical optimization, as well as chemical investigations on storage materials. A close cooperation with industry will ensure fast exploitation of the results. With the SHINE network, a critical mass of PhD students will be gathered on a European level to offer a specialized and structured PhD course programme of large solar heating systems.

After the end of SHINE, the key course modules will be offered as a standard curriculum of European PhD education in solar thermal in the long term. The SHINE students will face excellent job perspectives; they will have a sound background in energy economics and complementary skills, regarded as important skills to reach a breakthrough in solar thermal technology. 

Former Projects:

SolNet, founded in 2006, is the first international PhD education program on solar thermal engineering. The SolNet network is coordinated by the Institute of Thermal Engineering at the University of Kassel, Germany.

Solnet I

The networking activities started in 2006 with a Marie-Curie scholarship program of the European Union. In this framework SolNet offered seven PhD courses, as well as ten PhD scholarships between 2006 and 2010. This SolNet early stage research training project financed by the European Union was concluded in June 2010.

Solnet II

The second round of SolNet courses that were organized in 2011 and 2012 were supported by the German industry federations Bundesindustrieverband Deutschland: Haus- Energie- und Umwelttechnik e.V. (BdH; and Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW; The courses took place at the University of Kassel, Germany and the University of Innsbruck, Austria.