Ringing in a new era for solar energy

I would like to wish all ISES members and partners a very happy and prosperous 2016. As we ring in the New Year it is appropriate to reflect back on some of the major events that made 2015 a truly a unique transformative year for ISES and for our path towards achieving a 100% renewable energy future.

The year culminated in a landmark decision coming out of the Paris 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) and endorsed by 195 countries to pledge actions that will limit global warming to no more than 20C above preindustrial levels by the end of this century. The Paris Agreement, although limited in its legally binding language, represents a solid statement by all governments that the dangers to society associated with human-caused climate change are real, and that the work of the scientific community to demonstrate the causes and consequences of climate change are almost universally accepted by the world’s leaders. This agreement serves as a mandate for a rapid and substantial growth in the application of renewable energy. I am taking this opportunity to report on our 2015 accomplishments in three key areas in which ISES is already playing a key role in support of the Paris Agreement.

The first is in innovation. The Paris Agreement includes provisions for expanded innovation in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.  ISES has long played a major role in promoting solar energy R&D and disseminating information on technology advances through its signature Solar Energy Journal. Under the leadership of Prof. Yogi Goswami, who has been the editor of the Journal for the past 12 years, the Impact Factor remains strong at 3.469, and the volume of pages published continues to grow, now exceeding well over 400 articles per year. The Journal continues to be a major success factor and source of income for the Society, and will continue to grow as innovations in new solar technologies, renewable energy grid integration, and energy efficiency and storage technologies are developed.

The second is in global partnerships.  ISES has greatly expanded its partnering activities with other key international like-minded organizations.  In 2015 we were elected to another three-year term as a member of the REN21 Steering Committee, in the category of science and academia, and also provided inputs to the REN21 2015 Global Status Report.  We are a founding member and now a full member of the highly successful Go100% Renewable Energy Campaign headed by the World Future Council.  We were nominated to become a sponsor of the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, which will give ISES a seat at the table of this very important and prestigious international committee that was established to promote the research and use of solar heating and cooling technologies around the world.   We are a UN accredited organization, which gave us the opportunity to have a booth and participate in the UN COP21 event.  As part of our activities at COP21 we held a very successful side event on “Renewables Working Together” with our REN-Alliance partners.  This year the new UN Sustainable Development Goals include energy access and rapid growth in the use of renewable energy in developing countries.  ISES continues to be a member of the UN Foundation’s Practitioner Network, which focuses on achieving 100% clean energy access to the 1.2 billion people around the world who still do not have access to reliable electricity services, or the 2.5 billion people lacking access to clean cooking facilities.

The third is in knowledge sharing. This last year ISES held its biennial Solar World Congress in Daegu, South Korea, hosted by our local Section, the Korean Solar Energy Society.  Participants from 58 countries attended, sharing information on research advancements in renewable energy technologies and hearing presentations from renewable energy leaders about policy, financing, and market advances in the region and throughout the world.  The ISES webinar series continues to grow, and in 2015 we achieved a goal of one webinar per month.  The webinars cover a wide range of topics including technology-specific developments, local and regional initiatives, and global trends in renewable energy, and are very highly rated for their technical content and professionalism by those who attend.  ISES members also participate in many global conferences; this year I had the opportunity to provide keynote speeches at a number of global events such as the Global Learning Forum on Renewable Cities in Vancouver, BC (May), the 14th World Renewable Energy Conference in Bucharest (June), Intersolar North America in San Francisco (July), the American Solar Energy Society’s Solar 2015 Conference at the Pennsylvania State University (August), the Med-Green Conference in Florence, Italy (August), the South African International Renewable Energy Conference in Cape Town (October), the ISES Solar World Congress in Daegu (November), and the 4th Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry in Istanbul (December).  I was also honored to be invited to present a seminar to ISES’ first student chapter at the University of South Florida in April, and to give a speech on behalf of ISES at the Karl Boer Solar Energy Medal of Merit award ceremony at the University of Delaware in March.

As I enter my fourth term as President of ISES I look forward to working with all of you as our Society focuses innovation, partnerships, and knowledge sharing to achieve a 100% renewable energy world.

Best regards,

Dr. David Renne, President
International Solar Energy Society

This article was written by:

Dr. David Renné

ISES Immediate Past President