October 2013
The IREC Report

Jane Weissman





From the President & CEO
Jane Weissman


Next Stop: Chicago


This is not a promo piece for the Solar Power International (SPI) Conference.  But, it does tell you why we're going to the conference and what we hope to accomplish during the week of October 21 in Chicago.


There are some heady issues on the table to talk about and solutions to define.  Some of these hot-topic subjects are expected outcomes from our successes over the years growing solar markets.


Thanks to Larry Sherwood's Annual Solar Trends Market Report, data shows that in 2012, installed grid-connected PV increased by 36 percent compared to 2011.  Residential installations grew by 61 percent.   Many of these systems are a result of net metering, which has been a cornerstone of policy in the United States.  This market enabler is now in the crosshairs of a heated debate.  It's a mixed bag of understanding and valuing the benefits of net-metered solar installations versus the costs.  We plan to dig into this while in Chicago at IREC's 3iForum sessions in Booth #3038 on the exhibit hall floor.  


We'll bring to the debate a balanced outlook that is articulated in a recent IREC report, "Calculating the Costs & Benefits of Distributed Solar Generation."  Written by Jason Keyes and Karl Rábago and reviewed by multiple stakeholder groups, it offers a fair approach.


We'll also look at the interconnection demands on utilities in areas with high deployment of solar energy, resulting in some project delays and cost increases. Keeping pace with this growth requires new thinking on interconnection processes.  IREC has solutions based on our recent work in over two-dozen states and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  We'll also bring our concept on integrated distribution planning and how this proactive planning for distributed generation anticipates upgrades to accommodate growth.  Kevin Fox and Sky Stanfield will lead two of IREC's 3iForum sessions on the current thinking on interconnection.


With only about 25 percent of rooftops able to host solar installations, we'll talk about how to involve others through shared renewable energy programs.  Erica Schroeder McConnell and Joe Wiedman are leading IREC's work on shared solar and they'll talk about their innovative program designs.  IREC just updated the Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs.  It's a very good read and will give you the basis for pragmatic solutions.


Another Chicago-ready topic for discussion is ways of reducing the time and cost for local authorities to permit PV systems, while still protecting public health and safety.   IREC, along with the Vote Solar Initiative, has offered best permitting practices for local jurisdictions.  IREC's work on this also includes in-depth workshops, technical assistance, and what we consider a prime-time program - the online PV training for code officials.  We'll talk about these and other best practices when Joe Sarubbi discusses how the Solar Instructor Training Network, a DOE SunShot Initiative, brings better-trained employees to the workplace.


Here's another issue we'll headline in Chicago: how do we know when training covers the right skills needed for the jobs out there?  There is confusion differentiating between well-planned, systematic program instruction and training that may not deliver what is promised.  Ultimately, a competent and skilled workforce brings a competitive advantage to the clean energy industries.  IREC's solution is our standards development and credentialing programs.  Setting the requirements and assessing compliance to them are critical underpinnings for workforce development.


Credentialing is not a snoozer.  Without some form of well-designed, third-party assurances, poor workmanship can cause big market headaches.  Laure-Jeanne Davignon and Pat Fox will bring to the 3iForum IREC's market-valued solutions and how the bar is being raised for the solar training community.


We plan to be at full speed while in Chicago.  Along with our sessions and presentations, IREC will be hosting our 20th Annual Innovations and Special Recognition Awards ceremony, renamed the 3iAwards, including a red carpet roll out, paparazzi, and star-studded interviews.  Well, maybe not exactly.  But, we're honored to recognize a group of very inspiring people, projects and organizations this year.  We'll also have our Annual Updates & Trends Report available at our 3iForum sessions.


We hope to see you in Chicago and at IREC's upcoming events.  If not, check out IREC's web site for follow-up news and information.


Talk with you soon.


JMW sig  



IREC Credentialing Program 

by Laure-Jeanne Davignon


LJ IREC'S New Standards Distinguish Quality Clean Energy Training Organizations and Trainers

Recently, IREC announced two new standards for the credentialing of clean energy trainers and training organizations, part of the not-for-profit's commitment to lead the nation's building of a well-trained, high-quality clean energy workforce. Read more.

IREC Standards Development

by Kristen Ferguson


You and IREC - Setting the Standard for Quality

While IREC oversaw the standards development process for our two new quality standards, according to established procedures, the content represents what you, our peers in the clean energy industry, define as a high-quality training provider and an exceptional instructor. More than a dozen members of our community volunteered their time and considerable energy to represent their stakeholder groups and ensure that together we crafted a balanced and fair standard that represents excellence. Read more


Solar Instructor Training Network

by Joe Sarubbi

Joe Sarubbi

Local Code Officials Have New User Friendly Version for Solar PV Online Training

The PV Online Training for code officials is now on the Moodle platform, an open source learning management system popular with educators as a tool for creating online, dynamic web-based content for students.Though the PV online curriculum was originally developed for code officials and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), the training is available to anyone. Read more.

Regulatory Reform 
by Laurel Passera



How to Initiate Solar Permitting Reform in Four Easy Steps

Solar permitting is but one small, easily overlooked piece of the solar installation process. However, because we have upwards of 25,000 local jurisdictions in the country, there are staggering possibilities for variations of local permitting procedures.To address these challenges, many local jurisdictions around the country have been leading the way to find innovative, collective solutions to streamline solar permitting in a safe and effective way. Read more. 
SolarOps logo

SolarOPs offers technical assistance and facilitated peer support to help cities and counties remove barriers in local markets and increase installed solar capacity. Whether you're looking for assistance identifying resources, best practices or other jurisdictions who are implementing similar initiatives, SolarOPs can help. Read more.
of note... 

3iForum banner


We're weeks away from IREC's 3iForum, three days of insightful 30-minute sessions on the floor of Solar Power International, in booth #3038. It's a stellar line up of solar thought leaders. Will we see you there? Click here for session details.


Tuesday, October 22
11:00amBuilding the Market: IREC Tackling Issues for Success
11:30amWhy Market-Valued IREC Credentials Matter
12:00pmFuture of Net Metering
1:30pmBetter Trained Workers Affect Your Bottom Line: The SITN at Work
2:00pmInterconnection Issues at Higher Penetrations
2:30pmImproving Interconnection: Integrated Distribution Planning
3:00pmIREC's Annual Solar Market Trends Report
4:00pmIREC's 3iAwards Ceremony at Renewable Energy World's Solar Central Booth #1343


Wednesday, October 23

2:00pmBetter Trained Workers Affect Your Bottom Line: The SITN at Work 
2:30pmFuture of Net Metering
3:00pmShared Solar: Growing the Market
3:30pmImproving Interconnection: Integrated Distribution Planning



Thursday, October 24

9:30amShared Solar: Growing the Market
10:00amWhy Market-Valued IREC Credentials Matter
10:30amInterconnection Issues at Higher Penetrations
11:30amIREC's Annual Solar Market Trends Report



America's Power Plan 

America's Power Plan presents state-of-the-art thinking designed to start smart conversations about our energy future - and keep them going. At the heart of this monumental national project are detailed recommendations from more than 150 experts, including IREC's Joseph Wiedman.  A toolkit for state and local decision makers, its goal is to improve policies in seven key areas: power markets, utility business models, finance policy, distributed energy resources, distributed generation policy, transmission policy and siting of new power infrastructure. Read more.


As more rooftop solar systems are installed across the U.S., municipalities and installers face numerous challenges ensuring quality and efficiency in the permitting and inspection process. To benefit permitting authorities and installers, and ultimately energy consumers who invest in solar, IREC just released the first Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) Systems. Read more

Join us when we honor innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency people, projects and programs live at Solar Power International 2013, October 22 in Chicago in front of thousands of attendees, exhibitors and press, in booth #1343. Read more.
The Value of IREC Credentials
Training that meets the highest standards and results in marketable, job-related skills stands out from the rest. Hear industry leaders talk about how the IREC Credentialing Program offers that distinction.
Read IREC's Newsletters

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


calendar icon

10/3 |  WEBINAR - ACI Women in Home Performance 
2:00-3:00 pm ET
10/3-13 | Solar Decathlon
Orange County Great Park
Irvine, CA
Chicago, IL


10/22-24 | IREC 3iForum
Information. Innovation. Inspiration.
30-minute INSIGHT sessions at SPI, booth #3038
Chicago, IL


Innovation. Ingenuity. Inspiration.
Solar Central Booth #1343, SPI
Chicago, IL


11/1 | WEBINAR - Solar Outreach Partnership: Promoting Solar Energy Use Through Local Planning
1:00-2:00 pm ET


11/11-14 | ICE Conference
Amelia Island, FL


Orlando, FL
Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
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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.  
About IREC
IREC believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. www.irecusa.org
Sponsors for IREC's 3iForum and 3iAwards
IREC appreciates the generous support from our early sponsors for the exciting, new 3iForum and 3iAwards at Solar Power International in Chicago, October 22-24. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For information, contact Larry Sherwood
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