SWC50 – The Century of Solar

The SWC50 -The Century of Solar will be held in Melbourne Australia between the 2nd and 4th December 2020. It will comprise of a conference, display area, and the release of the celebratory booklet: The Century of Solar- Stories and Visions for the Future of Renewable Energy. The conference will briefly look back over the 50 years since the first Solar World Congress was held in Melbourne in 1970.  More importantly the conference will focus on how we can and must transition to 100% Renewable Energy.  The display area will allow entities to tell their solar story and will celebrate the 1000’s of pioneers who have achieved the solar technology breakthroughs and developed the industry.

This is the first monthly newsletter of the SWC50. The Newsletter will be coming out monthly in order to keep our supporters up to date and to encourage wide distribution of event information.

The Start of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)

In the early 1950’s a few visionaries believed that it was time to elevate solar energy, the most important source of life on earth, to become the foundational source of all energy consumed by humankind. One leader of this group of visionaries was Farrington Daniels, who first suggested the need for an organization to promote the development and application of solar energy and create a solar industry. 

In 1954 three other pioneers, Henry Sargent, Walter Bimson and Frank Snell created the Association for Applied Solar Energy (ASAFE) in Arizona.  This organization was formed to show how modern means for solar energy conversion are feasible, and to provide a stimulus for achieving universal acceptance for modern solar energy conversion, replacing conventional sources of energy. The first public events of AFASE were a Symposium held in Phoenix and a Conference in Tucson in late 1955. In 1963 AFASE changed its name to the Solar Energy Society. 

Following its first International meeting, held in Melbourne in March 1970, the name was changed to the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), with the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society (ANZSES) and American Solar Energy Society (ASES) becoming its first two Sections. A number of other Sections from around the world quickly followed suit, and ISES soon established a global reach. The solar pioneers who put into motion the creation of AFASE and, ultimately, ISES advocated for more coordinated and accelerated research in solar technologies, which up to this time was often done as a hobby. This was a prophetic recognition that solar development can no longer be an activity of a few enthusiasts, but was to become an absolute necessity to meet the energy needs of the future.  The recognition was further motivated by Bell Telephone Laboratories, which patented the first commercial solar cell in 1954. Over the years ISES became an important forum for solar energy scientists and engineers around the world to communicate their work amongst each other, to check their results with each other, to critically analyse all ideas and findings, and to arrive at a constantly increasing wealth of facts that can be followed by armies of entrepreneurs and industries to provide the means for changing over from fossil and nuclear-drive energy technologies to the benign, renewable and profitable solar technologies of the future.


ISES Today

The global voice for renewable energy

For over 65 years the members of ISES have undertaken the product research that has helped the renewable energy industry to grow. ISES, through its knowledge sharing and community building programs, helps its global membership provide the technical answers to accelerate the transformation to 100% renewable energy and thereby achieve the following vision:

The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) envisions a world with 100% renewable energy for everyone used wisely and efficiently.

ISES facilitates the knowledge sharing between its members and the wider communities through:

  • Active country sections and affiliates
  • The scientific publication: Solar Energy Journal
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Renewable Transformation Challenge (RTC) + ISES Awards
  • Young ISES: social and professional network for young members
  • Active participation in many international organisations and events
  • The biannual conferences Solar World Congress (SWC) and EuroSun

The Solar World Congresses

The first SWC was held in Melbourne Australia in 1970. Following the second SWC in the USA in 1971, the Congresses then became bi-annual events generally held in the odd years. The following table shows where the 27 SWCs have been held.

Year City, Country Year City, Country
1970  Melbourne, Australia 1997 Taejon, South Korea
1971 Greenbelt, USA 1999 Jerusalem, Israel
1973 Paris, France 2000 Mexico City, Mexico[1]
1975  Los Angeles, USA 2001 Adelaide, Australia
1977 New Delhi, India (held  January 1978) 2003 Göteburg, Sweden
1979  Atlanta, USA 2005 Orlando, USA
1981 Brighton, UK 2007 Beijing, China
1983 Perth, Australia 2009 Johannesburg, South Africa
1985 Montreal, Canada 2011 Kassel, Germany
1987 Hamburg, Germany 2013 Cancun, Mexico
1989 Kobe, Japan 2015 Daegu, South Korea
1991 Denver, USA 2017 Abu Dhabi, UAE
1993 Budapest, Hungary 2019 Santiago, Chile
1995 Harare, Zimbabwe    

[1] A special SWC highlighted as the Solar Millennium


Join us in celebrating SWC50! 

Coming back to Melbourne, ISES and the global solar community are not only looking back on the past transformative years of solar development, but also are looking ahead to solar’s bright future, and we are inviting you to become a part of it!

More information on the event program and our invited speakers will be available soon on the event homepage

SWC50 also offers a great opportunity to your company, institution, association or organization to really highlight your role in the success story that is the development of solar technologies – see our partnership prospectus to find out more and to secure your spot in the century of solar!

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