The idea for a National Solar Energy Institute can be traced back to 1998 when local politicians, most notably Michel Barnier and Jean-Pierre Vial, realized the importance of creating a center of reference for solar energy. The project began to take shape in 2005 with the convergence of four determining factors: the unshakeable support of local politicians (Département of Savoie and Rhône-Alpes Region), the expertise of local associations, including 20 years of unique work by the ASDER (Savoie Association for the Development of Renewable Energies), the long-term presence of pioneering companies in the field (Clipsol, Photowatt, etc.), and the investment of major research laboratories, led by the CEA, CNRS and University of Savoie. Today, all of INES’s partners are represented on the institute’s steering committee, which is responsible for governing the institute under the co-presidency of the two local authorities (département and region).