Tackling coal-burning industrial boilers is one of the key solutions to meeting the climate change and solving the environmental problem in China. Assessing the economics of various options to address coal-fired boilers is essential to identify cost-effective solutions. This paper discusses our work in conducting a comprehensive techno-economic analysis to evaluate various strategies for improving efficiency and maximize fuel-switching of industrial boilers. The analysis focused on three options: (1) fuel switching to replace coal with alternative fuels for small size of boilers; (2) retrofitting boilers through a series of efficiency improvement measures; (3) developing community-scale, distributed systems to replace otherwise scattered boilers operated by individual industrial facilities. Key barriers that prevent these solutions from being fully captured are discussed and policy recommendations to tackle these barriers are provided.