The International Solar Energy Society

Established in 1954 and with members in more than 100 countries, the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) is one of the largest organisations in the field of research, implementation and promotion of renewable energy technologies.

What does ISES do?

An UN-accredited NGO, ISES has a long tradition of technical and scientific expertise and innovation. It goes about its work setting clearly-defined goals and accomplishing them through its extensive communication network and frequent real-world projects.

The goals of the Society are as follows:

  • Towards a more sustainable world: To promote the use of renewable energy across the globe through the appropriate technology, scientific expertise, social responsibility, and global cooperation.
  • Developing a global community: Bringing together different industries, institutions and individuals in support of renewable energy technologies through communication, cooperation and collaboration.
  • Supporting development: The application of practical projects, technology transfer, education, training and support to the issue of global energy development.
  • Supporting the science of solar energy: To encourage both fundamental and applied research in solar energy.
  • Contributing to growth: Helping individuals and communities to grow by supporting private enterprise and empowerment in the area of renewable energy.
  • Information and communication: Allowing quick access to information through tailor-made communication and exchange platforms that use the most modern technology available.

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History of ISES

Below we take a glance at some of the most important milestones in the history of the Society:

  • 1954: A group of industrial, financial and agricultural leaders establish a predecessor to the Society, the ‘Association for Applied Solar Energy’, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
  • 1955: Its first two major meetings were held in Tucson and Phoenix, attended by 900 scientists, engineers and government officials from more than 30 countries.
  • 1956: The first issue of the publication ‘The Sun at Work’ was published.
  • 1957: The first issue of ‘The Journal of Solar Energy, Science and Engineering’ was published.
  • 1963: The society is renamed the Solar Energy Society (SES) after a reorganisation.
  • 1964: The journal is renamed ‘Solar Energy’.
  • 1970: The international headquarters of the society is moved to Melbourne, Australia.
  • 1971: The society’s name is changed again to the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).
  • 1976: The society’s magazine SunWorld is first published.
  • 1989: Introduction of the society’s ‘Section Sponsorship Program’ through which individuals and sections have the opportunity to sponsor sections from developing countries.
  • 1990: The UN accepts the society as an NGO in consultative status, and it participates in the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 1991: The society introduces a new “ISES 2000 Initiative” to respond to its members’ needs.
  • 1994: The society co-ordinates a second meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in New York.
  • 1995: The international headquarters of the society moves again to Freiburg, Germany.
  • 1996: The web-based information system “WIRE” is implemented, including other internationally oriented initiatives.
  • 2000: Membership restructuring allows for more services to offered and facilitates the administration of memberships via the internet.

Partner organisations

In order to achieve its goals the ISES partners with the International Renewable Energy Alliance (IREA), which it co-founded along with the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), and the International Geothermal Association (IGA).

The IREA was founded in 2004 with the goal of providing the possibility of a single voice uniting the different renewable energy issues and interests among the leading figures in the renewable energy industry all over the world, as well as to enhance the development of policy and information on renewable energy where it can.

Other partnerships

As well as its main collaboration with the IREA, the ISES also works with other organisations all over the world in order to achieve its goals. These include the following:

  • Governments across the world
  • UN, including numerous subordinate organisations such as the UNEP and the UNDP
  • EU
  • International Energy Agency (IEA)
  • EUREC Agency
  • World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE)
  • European Renewable Energy Council (EREC)
  • Industrial and service organisations
  • NGOs
  • Research institutes
  • Universities


If you’re interested in joining a global community of like-minded individuals and organisations committed to advancing r"enewable energy technology and implementation, head over to the Membership page on its website. There you’ll find all the information you need on joining.

Alternatively, you can go along to an ISES event, where you’ll be able to see for yourself what the society does and connect with members in person. A calendar of these events is available on its website also.

If you just want to be kept up to date on the society’s activities, you can sign up to its email newsletter, which is available to anyone who wishes to sign up to it.

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