Approximately, 50 % of worldwide primary energy consumption is done in the form of heat in applications with a temperature lower than 250 degree centigree (low-medium temperature heat). These data clearly demonstrate the great potential of solar thermal energy to substitute conventional fossil fuels, which are becoming more expensive and are responsible for global warming. Low-medium temperature solar thermal energy is mainly used to obtain domestic hot water and provide space heating. Active solar thermal systems are those related to the use of solar thermal collectors. This study is dealing with low temperature solar thermal applications, mainly focusing on active solar thermal systems. This kind of systems has been extensively growing worldwide during the last years. At the end of 2006, the collector capacity in operation worldwide equalled 127.8 GWth. The technology is considered to be already developed and actions should be aimed at favouring a greater market penetration: diffusion, financial support, regulations establishment, etc. China and USA are the leading countries with a technology based on evacuated tube collectors and unglazed collectors, respectively. The rest of the world markets are dominated by the flat glazed collectors technology. (Author) 15 refs.