ISES Seasons Greetings

24. December 2020

Reflections on 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, we take a moment to reflect back on the year and the many highlights but also challenges it brought for the Society, our members and our global solar community. We are thankful for the support from ISES Members and Partners all over the world – your continued support allows us to further strengthen the voice of solar energy in a year that has proven to be both trying and crucial for the future of the global climate!

The end of 2020 also marks the five year anniversary of the Paris Agreement with the significance of a fast transformation to 100% renewable energy - the vision of ISES - being ever more pressing, as we see the consequences of climate change unfolding all around the world and as economies are looking for ways of recovery from the consequences of COVID-19.

In 2020, ISES staff and Board Members continued to present ISES and the important role of solar energy - find some highlights from 2020 below.




A message from ISES President Klaus Vajen

Dear ISES Members and Friends,

On behalf of all of the ISES Board of Directors and our team at ISES Headquarters I would like to thank our members for your support, dedication and work towards advancing renewable energy throughout the past year. ISES is a network of members, but the whole of our Society is greater than the sum of its parts. ISES brings together members and partners from throughout the globe to share and learn from one another. We offer the platform to connect to colleagues working in all fields of solar energy and build professional networks. In light of the global situation this year, making connections was more challenging than ever but through innovation and determination, we have been able to offer our members and the greater solar community several opportunities to stay informed and engaged. We will continue building on what we have learned in 2020 to offer more online, and hopefully again soon in-person, opportunities to connect.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first international Solar World Congress, and while we all would have enjoyed meeting one another in-person to celebrate this important date, we were able to offer a 2-day virtual conference that kicks-off a year-long series of events to commemorate the Solar World Congresses with a focus on the Century of Solar. The organization of a virtual event at the global level is challenging because of many different time zones. Nevertheless, around 800 participants participated in the online conference and followed the interesting sessions. ISES Solar World Congress and EuroSun conferences exemplify the spirit of international networking and exchange of ideas and although it was not possible to experience this live together this year, we can still connect to discuss the answers to advance the ISES vision of achieving 100% renewable energy for all.#

I wish you a happy holiday season and a healthy and successful New Year 2021. I look forward to meeting many of you again in person at a future ISES event.


EuroSun 2020 - 1st ISES Virtual Conference

We are especially proud of our first ever fully virtual ISES conference EuroSun 2020, supported by IEA (International Energy Agency) Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (SHC) and co-organized with the Cyprus University of Technology and the University of West Attica. Originally planned to take place in Athens, Greece the conference was taken online due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and was a great success, with over 215 scientists and professionals from all over Europe and the world joining online. Over the three days, 6 keynote speakers shared their latest break-throughs with the global online audience. The Organizing Committee of the conference paid particular attention to gender diversity when selecting speakers (4 out of 6 speakers were female) and bringing in new faces to the already well-established network of solar enthusiasts. In particular, the youngest keynote speaker, Ms. Kehkashan Basu, who gave the closing keynote speech, was an inspiration to all attendees at just 19 years old.

In total, 65 presentations were shared and 86 posters uploaded. Aside from the technical features of the online conference, the highlights were the excellent contents of the presentations and contributions from the audience in Q&A sessions. Especially dynamic were the workshops organized each day, from organizations such as Elsevier, REN21, The Global Women’s Energy Transition Network GWNET and Solar Heat Europe.


New ISES ExCo and Board of Directors 2020

The new ISES Executive Committee and Board of Directors took office in January 2020. 

In September 2019 the then current Board of Directors  had elected the new Executive Committee for the 2020-2021 term.

Prof. Klaus Vajen was elected as the new ISES President. He is Director of the Institute of Thermal Engineering at the University of Kassel, Germany, where he holds the Chair of Solar- and Systems Engineering. Also elected were Dr. Kemal Gani Bayraktar of Turkey as Vice President and  Dr. Viktoria Martin of Sweden as Secretary. Geoff Stapleton of Australia was re-elected as ISES Treasurer.

In November 2019 , the ISES members voted on the Board of Director for the 2020-2021 term. We were especially pleased with the high voter turnout in this election, with over 450 members casting their votes. Information about the 2020-21 Board can be found here.

News From the Solar Energy Journal

Solar Energy, the official journal of ISES has been in publication since 1957, truly making it one of the flagship publications on solar energy. At 18 issues per year, additional special issues and an impact factor of 4.608 (for 2019) the journal continues this long tradition of being a leading publication in the field of solar energy research and technology. In 2020, after nearly two decades of outstanding leadership of Solar Energy as Editor-in-Chief, Prof Yogi Goswami (University of South Florida, Tampa, United States) announced that he will be retiring as the Editor-in-Chief for the journal.

ISES and Elsevier issued a Call for Applications to fill the position of Editor-in-Chief and are pleased to announce the new Editor-in-Chief in early 2021. 


New Open Access Journal Solar Energy Advances Announced

In November 2020, ISES and Elsevier were pleased to announce the launch of a new open access journal, Solar Energy Advances.

Solar Energy Advances will be a high-quality journal reflecting the work of ISES in transforming our energy production and consumption into a fully renewable system.

The new journal will complement the successful ISES Solar Energy Journal, launched in 1957, and which remains the flagship scientific journal for solar energy and it will cover a broad range of themes relevant to solar energy research, development and applications.

ISES Webinars - A Solar Success Throughout 2020

In 2020, ISES continued the society's highly succesful series of monthly webinars. Focusing on solar energy related topics of high relevance in science, technology development, market and industrial implementation, social issues, training and education our webinars offer something for everyone. The 13 webinars in 2020 covered new trends such as floating solar, solar used to build back with a green recovery in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of new reports such as the REN21 Renewables 2020 Global Status Report and the newly released Renewables in Cities Global Status Report and many more. A special highlight was the return of the "Powering Renewables - Women in Solar Energy" series as well as the introduction of the latest ISES Infographics via a webinar.

Successful partnerships on these webinars continued with our partners such as the IEA SHC Solar Academy, the REN Alliance, the GSC, REN21 and GWNET. Registration and attendee numbers for our ISES webinars keep increasing. proofing the value of these webinars to the global solar audience with a record breaking 1.120 registrations for the May webinar on floating solar.

We look forward to offering more webinars in 2021 on the topics relevant to and driving the transformation to 100% renewable energy.


Advocating for Change

Throughout 2020, ISES members, the ISES ExCo and the Board of Directors continued advocating for the transformation to 100% renewable energy for all, used efficiently and wisely. 

ISES also joined both the REN Alliance and the IRENA Coalition for Action in calls to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In April, the IRENA Coalition for Action issued a first call to action focussing on actions governments can take to ensure the economic recovery from COVID-19 aligns with global climate and sustainability goals. This call was renewed in December 2020, with the members of the Coalition for Action, such as ISES, urging governments to correct their course and highlighting that by placing a renewables-based energy transition at the heart of an economic recovery from COVID-19, governments could foster economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future.

In June 2020, ISES as a founding member of the REN Alliance, together with the World Bioenergy Association, the World Wind Energy Association, the International Geothermal Association, the International Hydropower Association presented a joint statement of renewables working together  in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunities for renewable energies to work together for a green recovery. The REN Alliance partners presented six action steps to be taken to ensure this green recovery and shared this call for action via a joint statement and a joint webinar. 


ISES Celebrates 50 Years of ISES Solar World Congresses

In 2020, a very special ISES event that had been in the planning for several years began: SWC 50 - The Century of Solar, a virtual year-long celebration to celebrate 50 years since the first international ISES Solar World Congress that was held in Melbourne, Australia in 1970. 

The celebration began with a two-day looking back – looking forward virtual conference held on 3-4 December. Along with the Conference was the release of the ISES SWC50 The Century of Solar Stories and Vision publication and launch of the ISES SWC50 Century of Solar Museum.

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 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.

ISES SWC50 The Century of Solar Stories and Vision Booklet
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.

ISES SWC50 Century of Solar Museum
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.


Looking forward...

Looking forward to the new year, the team at the ISES Headquarters, together with the Executive Committee and Board Members, are excited to work to bring you several key events, more webinars and more opportunities to connect, learn and support the 100% renewable energy transformation.

SWC50 Continues!

In 2021, we will continue the year-long virtual celebration of SWC50 - The Century of Solar. Two more virtual events are in planning and the SWC50 Booklet and Museum will continue to grow throughout the year.


ISES and Elsevier Renewable Transformation Challenge 2021

In 2021, ISES and Elsevier will be launching the third edition of the Renewable Transformation Challenge

The Renewable Transformation Challenge is awarded every two years to recognize accomplishments by organizations such as private enterprises, NGO’s, and research institutions for undertaking projects and programs that help move the world toward an energy system supplied entirely by renewable energy sources, or for conducting the critical analyses that provide meaningful roadmaps for the transformation. The award is one step towards furthering ISES’ vision of a world powered by 100% renewable energy, used efficiently and wisely, and accessible for all.

Learn more about the challenge, the winners of 2017 and 2019 here and stay up to date for more information to come!



ISES is happy to announce the ISES Solar World Congress to take place in fall 2021!

We are gearing up for this event to be a major platform for the international solar and renewable energy community to meet and exchange ideas. The SWC 2021 will cover a broad range of themes and topics that reflect the unique perspectives of our participants working in solar research and development, industries, governments and academia. The final list of themes will be available when the Call for Participation is launched in early 2021.

The scope of the SWC 2021 will be multifaceted. The Congress will include technical sessions on a broad range of renewable energy topics, international experts addressing cutting-edge technologies and developments in markets and policies at the governmental, national and regional levels, interactive forums and workshops, strong participation by industry, and numerous networking and social events.

ISES members will benefit from an exclusive discount to attend the congress and ISES corporate members are invited to make use of this great platform! Join us for SWC 2021 and benefit from our members disocunt - learn more and join today!