February 2013
The IREC Report


from the Executive Director...
Jane Weissman




Just last week I spoke at the Workforce Development Institute annual conference by the American Association of Community Colleges. I shared with them how IREC has shifted into a higher clean energy gear - how new training safeguards are aligned with jobs. Here's a bit of what I told them, after I welcomed them to the confusing world of credentialing.


The result of a marathon endeavor, IREC reached two national milestones last month.  Together, they offer important new safeguards for energy consumers, industry, students and government. We released IREC's new Standard 14732:2013 for training programs that offer certificates in the renewable energy and energy efficiency space, and we launched the accreditation program to demonstrate compliance to those requirements, along with our partner the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).


Our goal - standardized quality training matched with employer needs - facilitates training outcomes that result in marketable, job-related skills.


After 24 months of working with a balanced and vocal committee of subject matter experts; asking the public for three rounds of comments on the standard; developing an assessment scheme with ANSI by drilling down to the multiple elements needed; holding a pilot study and clarifying definitions - we now have a standard to use and an accreditation process in place. 


We had to be sure that this epic effort had value in building a strong workforce, with training for safety and quality the highest priorities.  We did not flinch for a minute.   We relished the lively discussions. We tackled the tedious details. And we pushed the envelope further.  Here's why.


We are seeing growth in the clean energy sector, sometimes not as fast as we would like, but definitely growth.  Grid-tied photovoltaic installations continue their rise, as does U.S. wind capacity.  Spending on energy efficiency programs is expected to double in the next dozen years.  All this leads to more jobs.  We have a lot of training going on around the country - some good training matched to industry-needed competencies and some not-so-good training leading to unclear learning outcomes.  We still struggle with the misrepresentation of certificates as a mark of professional certification.  There is a lack of consistency and a plentitude of confusion. 


IREC's new training standard for certificate programs offers a clear way through this confusion by laying out the requirements for program management, educational processes (instructional design and assessment), and technical content (skills and knowledge taught), with the outcome leading to a market-value certificate. 


What is market value? We spent hours debating this.  Basically, we want to see that someone who has gone through the training has learned marketable and job-related skills.  If you go through training and you walk out with a "certificate," it has to mean something.  A certificate of attendance doesn't cut it when we are talking about job readiness and market value.


IREC's new standard and the ANSI-IREC accreditation program is a natural progression in step with the evolution of the training environment, a complement to IREC's ISPQ 01022 Standard and scheme.  This new standard and assessment process offers all that IREC's ISPQ program does and more, focused specifically on certificate programs. Both credentials are a hard-earned seal of approval from a third-party, but the bar continues to be raised with this next chapter in IREC's commitment to quality assurance.


For more information on IREC's unique credentialing program, which accredits training institutions and certifies instructors in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields, visit www.irecusa.org


Jane Weissman

Executive Director


Connecting to the Grid 
by Laurel Passera
 Laurel VThe Year Solar Turned the Corner?

I think we can proclaim that 2012 was the year we turned the corner and caught a glimpse of what high-penetration solar looks like. Defined from an engineering perspective, a circuit has reached "high penetration" when utility engineers determine that upgrades need to be made to the circuit before additional generation can be installed.

IREC Credentialing Program  

by Pat Fox


The ANSI-IREC program to accredit renewable energy and energy efficiency certificate programs has completed its pilot phase and is now accepting general applications. Program staff will host a February 14 webinar to discuss the new Program.  Register to take part in the webinar.




Solar Instructor Training Network

by Joe Sarubbi


Joe Sarubbi

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) is offering a two-year (2013-14) training program for faculty throughout the seven state region of New England and New York.  As the Northeast provider of Solar Instructor Training Network, KVCC will establish relationships with career and technical high schools, community colleges, baccalaureate institutions, trade apprenticeship and union training programs that have existing training programs in electrical technology; construction management/building technology; engineering and architecture. Applications to participate are now available.  
Small Wind News
by Larry Sherwood
Larry Sherwood  
The Winter edition of IREC's Small Wind News touts examples of improved data collection & reporting: Lakeshore Tech College's new website shows current & historical data from their four turbines as a teaching tool for students. Readers can crowd-source information with a wiki for the Small Wind Consumer's Guide. Good data shows Milwaukee's turbine at their port is a winner, building good will in the process.
community shared solar
ICLEI's Solar Outreach Partnership Publishes Case Studies
Created by IREC for the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and its partners in the Solar Outreach Partnership for the Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, this two-pager offers a glimpse at how three different utilities provide their energy consumers the opportunity to go solar. 
About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of  renewable energy and energy efficiency 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, Inc. (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.  
IREC's Board of Directors, meeting in Denver recently, toured NREL's Research Support Facility in Golden, CO. The 360,000 ft2 LEED Platinum office building is a showcase for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. IREC Chair, David Warner, External Relations Manager at NREL, arranged the tour.
Read IREC's Newsletters

The IREC Report
Connecting to the Grid
Small Wind News
The Credentialing Chronicle
The SITN Quarterly



Washington, DC
2/5-2/7 | PV America East
Philadelphia, PA
Washington, DC
2/13-2/15 | Solar Power-Gen
San Diego, CA
Boston, MA
3/9-3/12 | NAWB Forum
Washington, DC
4/16-4/20 | Solar 2013
Baltimore, MD
San Francisco, CA
Denver, CO
4/30-5/3 | ACI National Home Performance Conference
Denver, CO

Alfred, NY 
Stevens Point, WI
San Francisco, CA


The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. DSIRE contains in­formation on more than 2,700 incentives and policies. Approximately 175,000 people per month use DSIRE. 

Established in 1995, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc.. DSIRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
of note...


Renewable energy leaders from Capitol Hill and across the country gather to assess the volatile state of renewable energy policy and provide a call to action for policymakers for 2013 and beyond. February 5-6, Capital Hill, Washington, D.C. IREC is a partnering organization of the Forum.


NREL's renowned Energy Execs Program offers two training courses--the Leadership Program and Leadership Institute.  Both provide business, governmental, and community leaders with information and tools to guide their organizations and communities in energy-related decisions and planning. Applications for the 2013 class are due March 8, 2013.

Good friend Ezra Auerbach, long-time face of NABCEP, steps down and hands over the reins to Director of Operations Richard Lawrence. "While it saddens me to leave NABCEP, I am thrilled to be opening a new chapter in my life," Ezra said.  Thanks for your tireless dedication to NABCEP, Ezra. Congratulations to Richard.  
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