Solar Energy – ISI or ISO?

The International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are sister organizations with the same headquarters in Paris. The ISO oversees the standardization of information and communication technologies, while the ISOS focus on the standardization of energy and power technologies. This is a big deal because both the electrical grid and the solar industry are heavily focused on information and communication technologies.

You’ll often hear people confuse the two, referring to either as the “International Standards Organization.” But while there is some overlap in their areas of focus, the ISOS and the ISO are not the same. Some of their top priorities and standards are discussed below.


One part of the ISO’s mission is to “promote and coordinate international standardization in the electric and electronic area.” The organization develops voluntary international standards for electronic communications, data interchange, measurement, and energy efficiency.

To bring order to the chaos of various national electrical grids, the ISO has developed a standard for interconnecting them, known as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The IEC 61883 – Electronic commerce; Open distributed computing platforms for managing power and consumption in an electronic network – is one of the most widely used standards for electronic commerce. This standard defines interfaces and interoperability testing methods for a wide variety of platforms and operating systems. For example, it has been adopted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the IEEE.

But it’s not all about standards. The ISO also has a mission to “promote the widespread use and practice of standardization.” And that means one thing for engineers: deploying and using standard off-the-shelf (OTS) components as much as possible. To facilitate this, the ISO provides the Joint Development Committee 1 (JDEV1) group, which develops open-source software to streamline the design and manufacture of electric vehicles and charging stations. JDEV1 works with international standards organizations and vehicle manufacturers to develop a standard for electric vehicles and charging stations.

The ISO also develops standards with a particular focus on energy and environmental issues. For example, it has developed a standard specifying the methods and tolerances for measuring electrical power and energy consumption.

Energy Efficiency

Like other information technology (IT) organizations, the ISO promotes the reduction of energy consumption through energy efficiency. This includes reducing the amount of energy consumed by your business as well as the environment – two important considerations for any company.

Specific areas where the ISO focuses on energy efficiency include lighting and building design. It has developed a standard for lighting designed to reduce energy consumption by 10% in 2030 – a very significant reduction. Furthermore, the organization is responsible for several green building rating systems, including the Green Stars rating system used in the United Kingdom and the Star Rating system used throughout Europe. The Green Stars rating system rewards buildings that meet strict criteria for energy efficiency. The system includes criteria such as energy consumption, water usage, eco material selection, and indoor environmental quality.

On the other hand, the ISO develops the standards for the modular floor to ceiling LED lighting system designed to replace the conventional ceiling lighting systems often used in offices. This is one of the most energy-efficient lighting systems available and can dramatically reduce a building’s energy consumption. The system is designed to fit into the tight spaces found in buildings and can be expanded as required.

Communication Technologies

The ISO standardizes a variety of electronic communications technologies, including data interchange formats, terminal configurations, and network architecture. One of the most widely used standards is the Open Digital Storage Library (ODSL) for document sharing. ODSL allows people to share and access important documents on a variety of platforms. ODSL is often used in combination with the Open Document Format (ODF) – a standard developed by the ODSL consortium – which allows for electronic annotations, making it easier to find and reference documents online. The ODSL and ODF standards ensure all users can enjoy all the benefits of the shared documents regardless of what device is used to access them. ODSL has been adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Other Areas

The ISO also oversees a variety of standards, including those concerning:

  • Agriculture
  • Beverages
  • Bioproducts
  • Building Physics and Materials
  • Building Automation
  • E-government
  • Health
  • Highways and Transportation
  • Machinery
  • Power and Distribution

As you can see, the ISO has a lot to do with standardizing technology. But that’s probably not surprising, considering their headquarters is located in Paris, the City of Lights. If you want to find out more, check out this helpful website by the International Standards Organization:

Scroll to Top