The Solar World Congress at 50

December 2020 to October 2021

Virtual Conference including: Online Display, Renewable Energy Pioneer Nomination, Commemorative Booklet

Contact: swc50 [at] ises [dot] org


In 1970 solar research pioneers met at the first International Solar Energy Society (ISES) Conference in Melbourne Australia. ISES is commemorating this conference with a special 50th Anniversary Virtual Conference, called the Solar World Congress at 50 (SWC50).


The SWC50 highlights the transformation in the global energy sector that has taken place since the first ISES Solar World Congress in 1970 and looks forward to the next 50 years when renewable energy will be the major cornerstone of the global energy system. This special event will be about the people: researchers, industry players, policymakers, and leaders from NGOs and non-profits who have all contributed to make renewable energy the fastest-growing contributor to our global energy supply.


The SWC50 will include:

  • A 2-day virtual conference in December 2020, with invited speakers and panellists who will:
    • address strategies to accelerate the “Journey to 100% Renewables”.
    • address all energy sectors and regions. 
    • focus on social issues, technological issues, and enabling framework issues.
  • Three follow-up webinars during 2021.
  • An online virtual museum providing a timeline and focusing on the stories from the past 50+ years and visions for the next 50 years through the eyes of:
    • Institutions (research laboratories and universities);
    • NGOs and Non-profit organizations:
    • Industry; and
    • Governments.
  • Monthly newsletters during 2020 and 2021
  • Development of a Commemorative Booklet called “The Century of Solar - Stories and Visions of Renewable Energy”
  • Individuals recognised as Renewable Energy Pioneers in the virtual museum and booklet.
  • A solar time-line display which will be launched at the 2020 Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference (APSRC20), 01 – 03 December 2020 in Melbourne and will be available to be displayed at future ISES and ISES partner events. 
  • A historical display at APSRC20.
  • A 50-year celebratory dinner at APSRC20 and potentially celebrations (dinner or receptions) at other conferences during 2021


ISES Solar Energy Museum - Call for historic materials

Call for Contributions

ISES will be launching a virtual solar energy museum to mark the SWC50 – Virtual Conference in December 2020.

The museum will include the following:

    ·         Timeline:  the history of ISES
    ·         Videos of interviews with early pioneers and early events
    ·         Overview of growth in the various market segments including key events, projects, successful policies and significant research breakthroughs
    ·         Profiles of Research and Industry Pioneers
    ·         Timeline of growth of renewable energy access
    ·         Stories from institutes and companies

The museum will be organized by decade and will include a vision area with a focus on moving towards 100% renewable energy.

For the museum, ISES is looking for images of early products, systems and significant events that might be shown in the museum. In particular, ISES is looking for images from the pre-1990’s.

If you believe you have relevant photos, videos or materials in formats that are suitable for posting in the online museum, please send these to swc50 [at] ises [dot] org.  Please include appropriate descriptions in the name of the files and possibly include a background story in a word document. All contributors will be acknowledged on the museum website.


Call for Renewable Energy Pionners

The organizers of SWC50 are pleased to launch this call for individuals to either self-nominate or to nominate others as Renewable Energy Pioneers.

Without the efforts of individual researchers, system designers, system installers, business leaders, policy makers and those within the donor community, the renewable energy industry would not have grown from watts to Gigawatts in the last 50 years. Thus, ISES is issuing a call for developing a compilation of Renewable Energy Pioneers to be listed in the celebratory booklet. This will be ISES’ way of acknowledging the many people who have made this industry what it is today.

ISES is calling for submissions of the names of individuals covering the following two categories:

·         Research Pioneers: Individuals who started their research in 1995 or earlier

·         Industry Pioneers: Individuals who actively started working in or with the industry in 1995 or earlier


Why 1995 as a cut-off date?

We have arbitrarily chosen 1995 since this was 25 years after the first Congress and 25 years before SWC50. Much of the renewable energy industry growth has occurred since 1995. The number of people working in the industry has grown significantly on the last 25 years and those working in the industry or undertaking research prior to 1995 were the pioneers of this industry.

ISES appreciates that there have been other significant individuals who have contributed greatly to the growth of this industry since 1995, their contribution will be acknowledged in the booklet.


How to nominate a Renewable Energy Pioneer?

Names and information can only be submitted online in the relevant form. Individuals can submit on behalf of themselves or in behalf of someone else, particular those who might have passed away.


How will they be recognised?

All of the pioneers and researchers submitted will have their name, relevant information, photo and description in the booklet: The Century of Solar- Stories and Visions for the Future of Renewable Energy. Future monthly newsletters will feature short articles on the very early pioneers—those before 1980.

Nominate a Renewable Energy Pioneer here!