Renewable Transformation Challenge

Renewable Transformation Challenge 2021

Elsevier and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) are pleased to announce the third biennial Renewable Transformation Challenge.

Renewable Transformation Challenge

2021 Winner

“Coldbox Store” by Uzochukwu Mbamalu of Manamuz Electric

Find out more

Please send any queries you may have about the Challenge or your Application to:

Please see the full terms & conditions for more information.

About the Challenge

The objective of the Elsevier-ISES Renewable Transformation Challenge Promotion (“Challenge”) is to recognize and honor outstanding work encouraging progress towards a world powered by renewable energy and with accessible energy for all. This objective is consistent with the vision of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), which is for a world powered by 100% renewable energy used efficiently and wisely and accessible for all.

The Challenge promotion is administered every two (2) 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 winner represents one step towards furthering ISES’ vision of a world powered by 100% renewable energy. This vision requires a global transformation of our energy systems to efficient and affordable renewable energy sources. This transformation can only be achieved through private and civil society initiatives towards innovative and successful programs that adopt the use of renewable energy technologies and the intelligent application of energy efficiency measures. In the context of this Challenge, the energy transformation applies to all end-use energy consumption: power, heat, and transport.

Applications for the Challenge are invited from organizations who can demonstrate that they have established successful projects, innovative technologies, financing schemes, policy initiatives, or renewable energy programs, or from institutions that have undertaken research and analyses and identified solutions that demonstrate how this goal is being met. The Challenge can include either supply side (energy generation for end-use energy consumption) or demand side (including energy efficiency) programs, or both, and applicants may address any or all of the end-use energy sectors mentioned above.

For the 2021 prize, the Judges and Jury are particularly interested in applications which demonstrate applicability, impact, sustainability and scalability in how they support a green recovery from COVID-19 at local, regional or global scales. However, applications that do not directly address this topic will still be considered

Innovative ideas will be given preference over incremental improvement projects.

The Challenge is not a funding body and applications still in conceptual stage with little supporting evidence of viability are unlikely to proceed past the first evaluation phase.

Details of how the application supports the renewable energy transformation must be very clear.

The winning proposal will be the one that best demonstrates the potential to widen access to energy, particularly in developing countries, through a transformative application of renewable energy technologies, taking into consideration societal impacts, project replicability, environmental improvement, economic viability, and energy access.

Renewable Transformation Challenge Webinar: Towards a World Powered by Renewable Energy

Following the launch of the RTC2021, we have invited the two previous winners, ME SOLShare Ltd and SUNSPOT, to talk about how their work has developed since they won, and to discuss how the RTC has impacted their work and why they were motivated to apply. Watch this recorded webinar with Dr. Dave Renné from ISES and Adam Fraser from Elsevier discussing why the award is important, why we want people/organisations to apply and what applicants should know

Listen to our podcasts about the Renewable Transformation Challenge:


There is a €20,000 prize for the first place entry. The winner, or one representative of the winning team, will be announced at an online awards ceremony. The winner, or one representative of the winning team, will receive one Gold membership to the Society. The winning project will be featured on this site and on the ISES website.

Judging Criteria

A panel of international scientific experts, jurors, will review the applications, and the top ten will be put forward to Elsevier-ISES awards’ judging committee for the selection of the winning proposal. The judges will evaluate the applications based on the following evaluation criteria:

  1. Clearly demonstrates that the application supports a transformation to 100% renewable energy;
  2. Be replicable, scalable and sustainable;
  3. Set a benchmark for innovation – new ideas or concepts will be given preference over incremental improvement projects;
  4. Have practical applicability and a clear demonstration of impact; e.g. does it consider a feasible implementation plan?
  5. Be suitable for application in developing countries; consider the project’s social impact on local communities.

2021 Winner

Coldbox Store” by Uzochukwu Mbamalu of Manamuz Electric

coldbox store

Find out more

Previous Winners

2019 Winner: “SUNSPOT Solar Electric Cooking” by Team SUNSPOT


2017 Winner: “The Energiewende 3.0 - Smart P2P Solar Grids” by Dr Sebastian Groh of ME SOLshare Ltd.

 Dr. Sebastian Groh of ME SOLshare Ltd., winner of the inaugural Renewable Transformation Challenge!

Photo showing Dr. Groh (third from left) and the ME SOLshare team.

2021 Judges

David RenneDavid Renné

Immediate Past President, International Solar Energy Society

Dr. David Renné served as President of the International Solar Energy Society from 2010 - 2019.  From 1991 until his retirement in 2012, Dr. Renné managed the solar resource assessment activities at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  In 2012 he formed the consultancy Dave Renne Renewables. He is dedicated to the concept of urgently achieving 100% renewable energy to meet all of our end use energy requirements as the best solution to the climate crisis.

Monica OliphantMonica Oliphant

Electricity and Community Power, Board Member of and Past President of ISES

Monica Oliphant, is Past President of ISES and an Adj. A/Professor at 3 Australian Universities. She was employed for 18 years in the electricity supply industry but now runs her own consultancy. She has received several awards in recognition for her work in renewable energy and has served on a number of Australian Federal and State Australian Government Energy Related Committees.   Currently she is working to develop community-owned solar and energy efficiency projects together with local governments.

Denia-Kolokotsa.jpgDenia Kolokotsa

Solar Energy Advances, Editor-in-Chief

Denia Kolokotsa is Professor of Energy Management at the School of Environmental Engineering of the Technical University of Crete, Greece. She served as Associate Editor of Energy and Buildings and as Editor in Chief of Advances in Building Energy Research. Since 2011 she is President of the European Cool Roofs Council. She has coordinated numerous International Research Projects in the field of Energy Management in the Built Environment and she is the author of more than 100 papers published in high impact scientific journals.

Klaus VajenKlaus Vajen

President of ISES, Professor University of Kassel

Prof. Dr. Klaus Vajen is director of the Institute of Thermal Engineering at the University of Kassel, Germany. He is founder of the MSc-programme “Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency” at the University of Kassel, and head of the council “University Educations on Renewable Energies”. He developed and coordinates the Europe-wide PhD-education on solar thermal technology, together with Professor U. Jordan. Klaus was member of the ISES Board of Directors from 2003-2011 and is a member again since 2018. He was Vice-president of ISES 2006-2007, founder of Young ISES (together with J. McIntosh) and Chair of the Solar World Congress 2011 in Kassel.

Philip EarisPhilip Earis

Editor-in-Chief, Joule, and Publishing Director, Cell Press

Philip Earis studied physics at Cambridge University, and has 15 years of experience in publishing impactful energy research, currently serving as Publishing Director at Cell Press. He joined Cell Press in 2016 as the launch Editor-in-Chief of Joule, a prestigious new journal spanning scales and disciplines in sustainable energy research, and has developed this to be one of the most influential research journals in the world, with a new Impact Factor of 41. From 2013-2016 Philip was living in India where he founded and ran Project Light, an organisation bringing solar power to marginalized off-grid Indian communities. Prior to this Philip worked at the Royal Society of Chemistry, where he led a portfolio of 7 prominent physical science journals, including launching the journals Energy & Environmental Science and Nanoscale.

Rainer Hinrichs-RahlwesRainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes

Vice President, European Renewable Energy Foundation

Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes is a renewable energy expert with more than 20 years of professional and honorary experience. He is currently serving as a Vice-President of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), after being the associations President from 2010 to 2014. He also is a Board Member of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). Rainer is representing both EREF and BEE at the Global100%Renewables platform.  Rainer was a Director General in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), inter alia co-chairing the International Steering Committee (ISC) preparing the 1st International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC), the renewables2004 conference in Bonn, Germany. The ISC was later transformed to become REN21.

Yogi GoswamiYogi Goswami

Professor at the University of Florida, USA

Yogi Goswami is the Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida. He is a renowned researcher, entrepreneur and solar energy expert. In 2016 he won the Karl W. Böer Medal and this year he was shortlisted to the Global Energy Prize 2017. He conducts fundamental and applied research on Solar Thermal Power and Cooling, Photocatalytic Detoxification and Disinfection, Thermodynamics, Third Generation Photovoltaics, and Hydrogen production and storage. He has served as a consultant for government policymakers and is the Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of the Solar Energy journal. He also holds 18 patents, some of which have been successfully commercialized.

Jury members

Doug ArentDoug Arent

Deputy Associate Lab Director -Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis, NREL

As deputy, Doug Arent supports integrating the Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis (SCEA) directorate’s cross-cutting technical capabilities and will bolster the strategic positioning and growth of the entire laboratory. Dr. Arent is Sr. Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, serves on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Steering Committee on Social Science and the Alternative Energy Future, is a member of the National Research Council Committee to Advise to U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Arent is the Editor in Chief for Renewable Energy Focus and is Associate Editor for the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Arent serves on the World Economic Forum Future of Electricity Working Group, and is a member of the International Advisory Board for the journal Energy Policy and for Energy Academy Europe.

Kamal Gani BayraktarKemal Gani Bayraktar

Marketing Director, Turkey

Dr. Kemal Gani Bayraktar is a mechanical engineer with a background in the field of energy. His interests are mainly focused on energy efficiency, renewables, insulation and construction technologies, policy, environment and climate change, low carbon economy, innovation, sustainability, circularity, clustering and vocational training. He worked for insulation industry and actively participated to regulatory works and tasks in NGOs. He represents Solar Energy industry as the Past President of Turkish Solar Energy Society and HVAC industry as the Vice-President of The Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning associations, REHVA and the President of Turkish Society of HVAC & Sanitary Engineers, TTMD. He is also representing Republic of Turkey as ExCo Member in IEA Solar Heating Cooling TCP.

Torben EsbensenTorben Esbensen

Consultant to ProjectZero, Sønderborg

Torben Esbensen graduated as Civil Engineer with a focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and building energy technologies. He is an evaluator for energy development and demonstration projects (EUDP) for the Danish Ministry of Energy and has himself been project leader for various research projects, that were funded by the Danish Ministry and by EU. He has extensive international experience and has as team leader for international expert teams implemented many energy projects in China, South-East Asia, Africa and Europe. Moreover, he is a member of the diplomatic corps appointed as Honorary Consul for Iceland representing Icelandic citizens in Southern Denmark.

A-Foley150.jpgAoife Foley

Editor-in-Chief, Elsevier’s Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews

Dr. Aoife Foley is a Reader in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Queen's University Belfast and Editor in Chief of Elsevier’s Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. She has a BE(Hons) and a PhD from University College Cork,  and an MScEng from Trinity College Dublin. Dr Foley is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland. She returned to academia in 2009 as a Lecturer in University College Cork after 12 years in industry, where she worked primarily in the energy, transport, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals sectors. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s Renewable Energy and the Editorial Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers Proceedings in Transport. Her specific research expertise covers wind forecasting and integration, energy market modelling, power system dynamics, demand response, electric vehicles, hydrogen and battery modelling and drive cycle analysis.

JoseGonzalez150.jpgJosé Gonzalez-Aguilar

Board Member, ISES

Dr. José González-Aguilar is senior researcher and head of the R&D unit of High Temperature Processes at IMDEA Energy Institute (Spain), a R&D not-for-profit foundation that focuses its research on high-temperature solar concentration systems and technologiesand the development of electrochemical energy storage systems coupled to renewable energy amongst other topics. He holds a PhD in Physics (Cantabria University, Spain, 1999) and a Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (University Paul Sabatier, France, 2007). His current research interests are in the area of concentrating solar energy systems and technologies and thermal sciences, which is carried out in the framework of national and international research projects (From 2015 to 2019, he has participated in 7 EU-funded, 5 national and 3 regional projects as well as 8 contracts with companies Since 2015, Dr. González is serving as associated Editor of Solar Energy Journal of Elsevier.

Andreas HaberleAndreas Häberle

Director, Insitute for Solar Technology, University of Applied Sciences HSR in Rapperswil, Switzerland, Board Member, ISES

Prof. Dr. Andreas Häberle is director of the Institute for Solar Technology SPF at the University of Applied Sciences HSR in Rapperswil, Switzerland. Dr. Häberle is a physicist from the Technical University of Munich and earned his PhD at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany in the field of concentrating solar thermal collectors. In 1999 he co-founded the company PSE AG that offers various technologies and services for the solar sector. The institute SPF has been a driving force in research and development of innovative energy technologies for more than 30 years, with focal areas in energy efficiency and renewable energies in general, as well as solar thermal and solar electrical energy in particular.

Carolin Hachem-Vermette

Associate Professor, University of Calgary

Carolin Hachem-Vermette holds two master's degrees in architecture, an additional master and a PhD degrees in Building Engineering at Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Her research activities are the design and analysis of a cultural/art center, in a more technologically oriented direction. Prof Hachem-vermette also holds a postdoctoral research under the NSERC Smart Net-Zero Energy Building Strategic Research Network extends this topic to mixed-use neighbourhoods designs with the goal of achieving net zero energy status, and development of energy efficient/energy generator building envelope components (facades and roofs).

Larry KazmerskiLarry Kazmerski

Member Research Staff (Emeritus), NREL
Research Professor, RASEI, University of Colorado Boulder

Kazmerski has a 50-year professional career in solar energy, primarily photovoltaics. He holds appointment as Gandhi Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Bombay and is a Visiting Research Professor in Energy at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC Minas) in Brasil. His current research is on PV reliability, especially soiling issues for solar components. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Electron Devices Society. He is a Fellow of ASES, IEEE, APS, and AVS. Kazmerski is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and he was recently elected as a Foreign Fellow of the Indian Academy of Engineering.

Ashvini-Kumar150.jpgAshvini Kumar

International Solar Alliance, International Advisory Committee

Dr. Ashvini Kumar holds a PhD in solar energy from IIT Dehli. He was associated with International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a part of a member of the International Advisory Committee.  Dr. Kumar is also a member of the Research advisory committee of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and ONGC Energy Centre and has worked for the Government for over 23 years in the area of policy development, coordination of R&D programme, and electrification of remote villages through RE technologies.

Kumar SatpathyRabindra Kumar Satpathy

Solar PV Power India

Rabindra Satpathy specialised in Solar PV Power through his final year project in Electrical Engineering. He has been working in Solar PV Industry since 1984. He has worked with world leading solar PV companies such as BP Solar India, Siemens Solar, Shell Solar, Solar World , RIL Solar Group, TRINA Solar in various functions i.e. System design & Engineering, Quality, Project Management, Sales & Business Development and leadership roles. He is currently Chief Executive Officer- Renewable Power of Emami

Viktoria MartinViktoria Martin

Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Secretary of ISES

Dr. Viktoria Martin is Professor in Energy Technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. A graduate from KTH (MSc in Chemical Engineering 1993) and the University of Florida (PhD in Mechanical Engineering 1998), she has pursued a career in international research collaborations within the International Energy Agency as well as the EU, providing insight into a variety of leading research and education arenas. Dr. Martin has over 25 years of experience in education, research, and entrepreneurship in the area of sustainable energy, with special focus on thermal energy storage and heat driven heat pumping technology. She is the author/co-author of 100+ publications within her research area. Equally important to research is her work on high quality education within the field, and she is presently the director of a two-year MSc degree programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering with participants from all over the world.

middleton150.jpgPaulette Middleton

Co-Chair of American Solar Energy Society Board of Directors

Paulette is a strong advocate for the rapid transformation of the global energy system to renewable energy for all, used wisely and efficiently. During her 40-year career as an atmospheric chemist, she has come to deeply appreciate the need for this transformation.   Her professional experience includes leadership positions at University of Texas (PhD Chemistry 1973), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York at Albany, Science & Policy Associates, Inc., and RAND.  Ongoing activities include Global Emissions IniAtive (GEIA) coordinator since 1991 and science-based environment/energy advisor to a wide variety of public and private, and stakeholder consortium clients since 2002 through my company Panorama Pathways.  In addition to being ISES Board Secretary, she is also a Co-Chair of American Solar Energy Society Board of Directors (the USA Section of ISES).
Power in India.

Ranga Pitchumani

Director, Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory

Dr. Pitchumani is the George R. Goodson Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he directs the Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory ( He received the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Pitchumani served as the Department Head at the University of Connecticut and as the Associate Department Head for Research at Virginia Tech. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the flagship journal Solar Energy, and serves on the editorial boards of other journals in the areas of energy and materials science. Dr. Pitchumani has served on the Advisory Board for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and as the U.S. representative on the SolarPACES Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency.

PlatzerWerner Platzer

Coordinator of International Business relations of Fraunhofer ISE, Board Director, ISES

Prof. Dr. Werner Platzer is a physicist and received his PhD from the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg in 1988 on the material optimization of transparent insulation. He has been working for more than 30 years for Fraunhofer ISE in Germany. Since more than 15 years however his focus is on concentrating solar thermal technology for process heat and power. He was for two years in Chile as Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Center for Solar Energy Technology in Santiago de Chile.  Werner is now coordinating international business relations of Fraunhofer ISE. As honorary Professor at the Faculty for Environment and Sustainability, University of Freiburg he teaches and supervises Master and PhD students. He was appointed chairman of the IEC TC 117 on the standardization for solar thermal electricity (CSP) and has been actively involved in many European and international projects on CSP and Solar Process Heat. He has authored more than 200 articles, book chapters and conference papers.

Ruther150.jpgRicardo Rüther

Professor, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis-Brazil

Prof. Dr. Ricardo Rüther is a Professor of Solar Energy at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis-Brazil, where he carries out R&D and academic activities in the field of solar photovoltaics, solar irradiation resource assessment, electrochemical storage and electromobility. He completed a BE with honours and a M.Sc. degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia at the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He was an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral research fellow at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany, and was tenured at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in 2000, where he is the director of the Solar Energy Research Laboratory Fotovoltaica/UFSC ( Prof. Dr. Rüther was a member of the ISES Board of Directors in the 2005-2007 and 2008-2010 periods. He joined ISES in 1991, and became an ISES  lifetime gold member in 2008.

Agnieszka-E-150.jpgAgnieszka Rządkowska

Board of Directors, ISES

Agnieszka Rządkowska is a co-founder and chair of the European Solar Network and a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Solar Energy Society. Academically she is associated with the University of Wroclaw. Her research is focused on solar energy transition in the context of international policy.

Anna-Skowron150.jpgAnna Skowron

Programme Manager 100% Renewable Energy, World Future Council

Anna Skowron works as Programme Manager for 100% Renewable Energy at the World Future Council and heads the Secretariat of the parliamentary network, Global Renewables Congress. Since 2021, she further serves as Co-Chair of the 100% RE working group of the IRENA Coalition for Action. Previously, she worked with the Climate Action Network International, the Overseas Development Institute and the UN in Indonesia. Anna is advocating for a swift and just transition to a renewables-based energy system and is interested in strengthening the links between renewable energy, green economy and implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She holds an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an MA from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

Geoff-Stapleton150.jpgGeoff Stapleton

Co-Founder Global Sustainable Energy Solutions, Board of Directors, ISES

Geoff Stapleton specialized in solar (PV) energy in the final year of his electrical engineering degree in 1981. He has worked in the solar industry since 1987. In 1998 he was one of the co-founders of Global Sustainable Energy Solutions Pty Ltd (GSES). GSES is a multi-disciplinary organization specializing in professional engineering and training services across the Renewable Energies sector. In 2010 through funding from REEEP, GSES acted as project manager and helped the industry in the Pacific create their own industry association known as Sustainable Energy Industry Association of Pacific Islands (SEIAPI).

Wongsa150.jpgKridtiyaporn Wongsa

Executive Director, Sustainable and Inclusive Development for Southeast Asia

Ms. Wongsa is the Executive Director of Sustainable and Inclusive Development for Southeast Asia (SID4SEA), a non-profit development program in Thailand. She is also associated with Public Policy Studies Institute as well as Chiang Mai University in Thailand.  Ms. Wongsa has her degrees in Chemistry, in Materials Science and Engineering, and in Mineral Economics.  With her close to two-decade-long career, Ms. Wongsa has been undertaking policy-oriented research, earlier in the fields of industry and tourism, and later, for more than a decade, in the fields of environment, energy, and climate change, including the GHGs-based taxation for automobile as well as the National Master Plan on Climate Change for Thailand.  She has recently expanded her research scope to the role of civil society sector, the 3rd sector besides state and market, in environmental governance.  On her consultant role, Ms. Wongsa has been working in both local and national levels in Thailand, and now expanding to a regional level, Southeast Asia.  As a consultant, she is currently the Program Manager of Renewable Energy Task Force (RETF) – Southeast Asia for the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

RTC Project Team

Adam Fraser

Senior Publisher, Elsevier

Jennifer McIntosh

Executive Secretary, International Solar Energy Society