SWC50 - The Century of Solar

December 2020 to October 2021

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


Contact: swc50 [at] ises.org

About SWC50

Call for Contributions

In 1970 solar research pioneers met at the first International Solar Energy Society (ISES) Conference in Melbourne Australia. In 2020, 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 is all 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 included:

  • 2-day virtual conference in December 2020, with invited speakers and panellists who:
    • addressed strategies to accelerate the “Journey to 100% Renewables”.
    • addressed all energy sectors and regions. 
    • focussed on social issues, technological issues, and enabling framework issues.
  • Two follow-up webinars during 2021 on Transforming the Energy Sector and  Perspectives on Future Power Grids
  • The virtual ISES Museum on Solar Energy 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
  • 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

In December 2020, ISES launched the virtual ISES Museum on Solar Energy to mark the SWC50 virtual conference.

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

For the museum, ISES continues to look 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.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.

Event Newsletter

For the duration of SWC50, Congress Chair Geoff Stapleton issued one newsletter per month, providing updates on SWC50 and sharing insights into the past 50 years of solar research and development.