January 2012
The annual Year-in-Review Issue
The IREC Report
For nearly 30 years, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has worked with industry, government, educators and others to ensure that the use of renewable energies is possible, safe, affordable and practical for us all.  If you like what you read, support us by becoming a member

For the past several years, IREC has published its Year-in-Review issue.  Return with us now, as we recall some of the remarkable accomplishments from IREC's programs during 2011.  Jane Pulaski, editor

A look back, a look ahead, a heartfelt thanks from IREC's Executive Director, Jane Weissman


Happy New Year! This time of year gives us a few minutes to catch our breath; take a look at where we've been; and make plans for where we're heading.


We covered a lot of ground in 2011 tallying up measurable gains on the regulatory front, setting a higher bar for renewable energy and energy efficiency training, and working for on-going state support for renewable energy and efficiency rules, policies and practices. 


A quick 2011 roundup includes... 

  • The release of the on-line solar career map (very cool -- it's interactive and more flexible than the typical static career chart);
  • The new ANSI IREC partnership for joint accreditation of specialty certificate programs;
  • Participated in 19 state utility commission dockets addressing net metering and interconnection;
  • Published model community renewable program rules to assist stakeholders in developing their programs;
  • Held the 4th National Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference;
  • Published the U.S. Solar Market Trends Report;
  • Published five newsletters keeping up-to-date information flowing on national and state activities, interconnection and net metering rules and programs, small wind, the IREC's credentialing programs, and the Solar Instructor Training Network.
  • And watched the Red Sox self destruct.

We're gearing up for an even busier 2012 by...

  • Celebrating IREC's 30th year!
  • Expanding market opportunities for solar photovoltaics (PV) by removing restrictions on programs like net metering.
  • Eliminating technical and administrative barriers to cost-effective interconnection and transmission of large quantities of solar PV.
  • Releasing IREC Standard 14732: 2012 -- General Requirements for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Certificate Programs.
  • Publishing an updated and expanded Best Practices in Training document.
  • Launching on-line photovoltaic training for code officials.
  • Convening the 5th National Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference.
  • And, a whole lot more...

Our Board of Directors and Team Members took time in October to sit down to discuss strategic and tactical plans for IREC now and for IREC's future. We looked at our strengths and weaknesses and shaped ideas for improvement and ways to be more effective. It's a continuing evolution, one we embrace and enjoy. Watch for some well-focused plans and new directions.


Finally, a heartfelt thanks to all of our funders and members who have confidence in our work and give us the resources to move forward. And a special and deep thanks to the IREC Team, an incredible collaboration of smart and creative people, all of whom are genuinely committed to our efforts to achieve a stable, clean-energy economy.   


Jane Weissman 
Executive Director 

Connecting to the Grid  
The January issue of the Connecting To The Grid newsletter is a Year-in-Review, says editor, Laurel Varnado.  Since I wouldn't dare scoop Laurel, I can point you to the CTTG Newsletter archive where you can peruse the 2011 issues and see if you can figure out which stories will make her Top 10 list.  More
To quote Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Okay, that might be a little melodramatic, but it is pretty clear that 2011 gave us plenty of the three-steps-forward-and-two-steps-back dance that characterizes U.S. renewable energy policy. (Were we expecting anything else?) So let's all raise a glass to a couple of dearly departed friends - 1603 Treasury Grants and the Oregon BETC, and toast some new friends, like the California RAM, the Rhode Island FIT, and the Vermont Energy Act of 2011. Find out which policies made DSIRE's Top 10. P.S.  There's a +1 (to grow on).  More
If you were plotting the growth curve of IREC's ISPQ Program, the curve would be more of a line, pointed straight up.  The IREC ISPQ team, phenoms all, has been burning the candle at all ends to keep up with the blistering pace of activity.  From updating the invaluable Candidate Handbook, to rolling out a new look and feel, to joining forces with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for a joint accreditation program for the clean energy workforce, the quantity and quality of work from the IREC ISPQ program is nothing short of jaw-dropping.  If 2011 is any indication of 2012, we should buckle up-tightly.  More 
SITN IREC logo  

As the National Administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), IREC serves as the national point of contact for the network and is developing a robust national infrastructure.  The SITN collaborates with nine Regional 

Training Providers (RTPs), well-established solar training institutions offering expert instruction in top training facilities around the U.S., who are developing the next generation of curricula and best practices, like the Solar Career Lattice, to train the rapidly growing domestic solar industry. 

The SITN spent 2011 building a solid infrastructure for the Network to achieve maximum results in training the next generation of a highly-skilled solar workforce. Working from the premise of offering training where training is needed, and solar training of the past is informing the training for today and tomorrow, the SITN turned out an impressive array of tools and resources:  consensus-developed metrics that will quantify the reach and effect of the SITN; a four-part seminar series on issues relevant to the solar training community; creation of a Solar Career Map, an interactive tool that explores and describes jobs across the solar industry and charts possible progression between them.  To date, some 200+ institutions and 600+ instructors have been trained at the nine Regional Training Providers, well-established solar training institutions from Maine to California who are training tomorrow's solar trainers.   


What's in store for 2012? 


A continuation of the seminar series, more issues of the SITN Quarterly Newsletter, and a suite of best practices tools, like curriculum program design and development, lab design, how to partner with public agencies, and more, all part of a detailed, methodical calculus in building a competent, competitive domestic solar workforce here in the U.S.  


Visit the SITN website.

Small Wind News
Activities in the small wind community were brisk in 2011.  Larry Sherwood, editor of the Small Wind Newsletter, gives us his top three small wind stories from 2011:

CEC Adopts New Rules for Small Wind Turbine Rebates
On November 2 and November 16, the California Energy Commission adopted revisions to the requirements for participating in the Emerging Renewables Program (ERP) and receiving incentives to help offset the cost of purchasing and installing eligible small wind generating systems.

Map of School wind Projects
The Wind Powering America team updated its interactive map of school wind projects on the WPA website.  The map currently features some 250 school projects.  If you know of a project that's not currently on the map, let WPA know. 

Workforce Development

It was a muscular 2011 for IREC's Workforce Development Program, beginning with release of its web-based solar licensing database of state-by-state licensing requirements for installing PV and solar thermal systems. You can search states that reference both the ISPQ and NABCEP credential.  

Both of IREC's training directories beefed up in 2011. The University Courses directory, with information on four-year universities offering undergraduate and graduate courses in renewable energy and energy efficiency, grew by 10%, and the Training Providers directory, with programs that are less than four years, workshops or hands on-training, saw a whopping 41% increase in new entries.  If you've got a program you'd like listed in either directory, visit the training directories page of the IREC site and create a new account.  


Despite blowing snow, ice and rain, and some delayed flights into Albany, hundreds of participants from across the U.S. and Canada packed plenary and breakout sessions at the fourth Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference, March 8-10, 2011 in Saratoga Springs. More than 450 innovative educators training the green energy workforce shared their remarkable work on instructional strategies, curricula development, credentialing, and best practices for building and maintaining a quality, credentialed safety-conscious workforce in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. 2012 will see the 5th national conference, November 13-15, 2012 in Albany, NY.  


See you there.   

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of  renewable energy since 1982. IREC's programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid; fair credit for renewable energy produced; best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industry; and quality assessment for the growing green workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs. Visit us at www.irecusa.org.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC's endorsement or recommendation. 

A few more notables in 2011, plus a couple of (big) upcoming events for 2012 at which we hope to see you.

Presentations from IREC's 2011 Annual Meeting in October in Dallas, in both PDF and visual note formats


November 13-15, 2012
Albany, NY
2nd round
of public comments for IREC Standard 14732:2012, General Requirements for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Certificate Programs

The Solar Career Map, developed by Dr. Sarah White and IREC for the Solar Instructor Training Network, explores the many job opportunities available in the solar industry.

Solar career ribbons
Assuring Quality for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Training



The 2011 National Solar Jobs Census reported more than 100K Americans work in the U.S. solar industry today. The annual report was conducted by The Solar Foundation and Green LMI (a division of BW Research Partnership) with technical assistance from Cornell University.
Freeing the Grid 2011

Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades all 50 states on net metering and interconnection procedures, is produced annually by NNEC in partnership with Vote Solar, IREC, and the North Carolina Solar Center
Read IREC's Newsletters

The IREC Report
Connecting to the Grid
Small Wind News
The ISPQ Insider
The SITN Quarterly
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Workshops, seminars, speaking engagements, 30-year birthday celebrations...you'll find them all here in

2012 logo

Details soon
IREC's 2011 Updates and Trends Report

IREC 2011 Trends & Updates Report

Released at IREC's Annual Meeting on October 17, 2011 in Dallas, Texas, with chapters authored by many of the nation's top experts in renewable energy on regulatory issues, policies and incentives, installation and market data, clean energy workforce development, credentialing and training. 

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