ISES SWC50 – The Century of Solar

Virtual Celebration Conference – Online Booklet – Online Museum

The International Solar Energy Society (ISES has begun a year-long virtual celebration– SWC50 – The Century of Solar,  with a two-day looking back – looking forward virtual conference held on 3-4 December.  Along with the Conference was the launch of  the ISES SWC50 The Century of Solar Stories and Vision booklet  and opening of the ISES SWC50 Century of Solar Museum. Access the booklet and the museum at The recordings of all conference sessions will be available online soon.

The SWC50 conference commemorates the first international ISES Solar World Congress, held 50 years ago in Melbourne, Australia in March, 1970.

For over 60 years, members of ISES have undertaken technical research, product development and advocacy for the growth of solar and renewable energy technologies. SWC50 celebrates what has been achieved over the 50 years since this first international conference, and a discussion of what must happen over the next 50 years, with particular emphasis on the next 10 years. Through the conference, booklet and museum, ISES aims to provide resources to help everyone accelerate the transformation to a 100% renewable energy world. 

More than 800 attendees from 76 countries joined the six conference sessions on 3-4 December. The sessions addressed important aspects of the energy transformation: the history of solar and outlooks for future; technology innovations; transforming the energy sector; transforming the heating and cooling sector; and critical roles of public support, policy developments and financial markets in accelerating the transformation. The conference celebrated the evolution of renewables, and looked toward innovations in technology, finance, policy and society that will help achieve the energy transformation goals.

The booklet, which will be updated periodically, tells the history of solar in short highlights, and provides a look into the future as well. The highlights, organized by decade, cover solar PV, solar thermal, concentrating solar power, solar architecture, PV in developing countries and ISES itself. Each section also tells special stories of some of the many pioneers in solar research, development and manufacturing. A total of 283 research profiles of research and industry pioneers were submitted by the start of the virtual conference.

The Museum presents historical information and perspectives of the future of renewables and includes some examples of the more expanded information provided in the book. A detailed timeline for the ISES history that can be found at the entrance to the Museum underscores many of the key achievements in solar. The Museum also has a rich collection of video materials and other media which bring to life people and events of the solar community. Like the Booklet, the Museum will be updated frequently.

Throughout 2021 the SWC50 virtual year of celebration will continue with follow up events. To stay updated, visit the SWC 50 homepage or subscribe to the ISES mailing list.

SWC50 – The Century of Solar is made possible by Platinum Partners: GSES from Australia and NREL from USA; Gold Partner: Smart Energy from Turkey; 20 organizational supporters; and many contributors who are listed in the booklet and museum. ISES welcomes contributions, comments, and donations to continue support of the Booklet and Museum.

Please contact to learn more about these opportunities.

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