December 2013
The IREC Report

Jane Weissman





From the President & CEO
Jane Weissman



What do chocolate and credentials have in common?


They both are good for you and worth the price if they are of high quality.  But just because a chocolate bar is advertised to gourmet foodies as the finest, it may not be the best, lacking the right ingredients to be true chocolate.  Same is the case for credentials.  A certification can be packaged nicely, even advertised as top shelf, yet what's behind it may not be enough to assure that it measures competency and skill.


For many years, IREC has been beating the credentialing drum.  Building a skilled and credentialed workforce for the clean energy industry has been an IREC priority action target.  But now we are committed to a variation on the theme as we  push for not just any credentials but credible credentials.   We look to national and international standards, including our own, to provide guidance and indicators for what makes a credential one that is meaningful and valid.


We look to national and international standards, including our own, to provide guidance and indicators for what makes a credential one that is meaningful and valid. 


Along with our steady work on standards setting and assessment, there are quite a few new national efforts underway to move the credentialing bar higher and offer a common framework and consistent terminology.


The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) just published their report on Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials.  The report takes a look at the credentialing landscape and discusses approaches to take.  I was at the October 2012 CSW Long Beach meeting that brought together a wide range of stakeholders and I'll participate in a follow-up energy panel discussion early this month in DC.


When meeting with our friend Roy Swift at the end of September at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), he told us about their new partnership with George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy to examine how ANSI can work to coordinate and improve standards and conformity assessment systems in the U.S. credentialing labor market.  This is an exciting undertaking and we'll keep in touch with Roy about its progress.


Earlier this fall, Joe Sarubbi and I participated in the Austin launch of the ACT Foundation and their new national network of business and industry associations.  The Network will be looking at employer initiatives and how to better link educational programming and job requirements.  The Network will also address standards-based skills certifications and the experience vs. competency imbalance. I'll be at the Network's DC meeting in January.


The U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institute of Building Sciences and industry stakeholders are developing voluntary national guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials for five key energy-related jobs.  Similar to their approach for the residential market, DOE is providing leadership and funding to develop validated job task analyses and certification schemes.  Laure-Jeanne Davignon and I presented at the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council meetings in late October and early November. 


After a year of committee meetings, Working Group #5 of ANSI's Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative submitted a draft chapter and recommendations on energy efficiency workforce credentials.  ANSI will release a full draft roadmap soon.  IREC has been co-chairing Working Group #5.  Eight issues areas are identified and discussed including the need for common terminology, naming the indicators of quality credentialing programs, the role of registered apprenticeships, determining the market value of credentials, the importance of assessing technical content for accreditation and measuring performance outcomes of the credentialed worker.  Sixteen recommendations are listed.  We'll let you know when the draft roadmap is released for public comment.


We applaud these national efforts leading to credible credentials and will do our part to support the common goals on the table.  


And I will personally do my part to always look for superior quality chocolate confections.


Talk with you soon.


JMW sig  



News From IREC's Programs
Five training organizations and seven individual instructors in clean energy were recently awarded the prestigious IREC Credential. Find out who they are.  More

Standards Development

IREC Standards for Training and Instructors promote best practices and provide a benchmark for effective and safe workforce training practices in clean energy technology. More

Solar Instructor Training Network
From the Northeast to the islands of Hawaii, thousands have received solar education and training from instructors and programs established by SITN. The latest edition of the SITN Quarterly affirms the creative solar education and training in motion by the Regional Training Providers. More

Regulatory Reform
In a recent far-reaching decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted significant modifications to the agency's Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP), which should facilitate a more efficient interconnection process for small renewable generators. IREC played a major role in this outcome and will work to help states follow the lead of this federal actionMore

The Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment, aka GEARED, is a recent initiative from DOE's SunShot Initiative. Designed to grow the expertise and preparedness of current and future electric utility sector professionals, GEARED will focus on high penetrations of solar and other distributed technologies. IREC is the National Network Administrator for GEARED. Later this month, the GEARED team will meet for a face-to-face work session.  

of note...   



A group of well-established, nationally accredited credentialing organizations, including IREC, has joined together to demonstrate and promote the collective importance of third-party quality assessment, and the value it brings to building strong and competent renewable energy and energy efficiency markets. More    


Multimedia Tutorials for PV Code Officials 

Last week, Sandia's Vipin Gupta and New Mexico State University's Gaby Cisneros and Corey Asbill shared their innovative work on training PV installers and inspectors using YouTube-style tutorials in an SITN webinar. If you missed it, or want to watch it again, you can catch the replay

The primary resource for those who are applying for or have been awarded an IREC credential, the Candidate Handbook has been updated, featuring, among other things, eligibility requirements for accredited training providers, certified instructors and master trainers.  More


Municipalities have begun creating permitting checklists and more comprehensive guidance documents to assist applicants. IREC created this two-page handout to introduce these documents to permitting staff and to provide some tips on how to draft local community versions.  More
Read IREC's Newsletters

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


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1/16ANSI-IREC informational webinar

 2:00-3:30pm EST



St. Petersburg, FL


3/29-4/1 | NAWB Forum
Washington, DC


3/31-4/2 | PTI Credentialing Conference
Denver, CO


San Diego, CA


Newport Beach, CA


Detroit, MI


4/30-5/1 | CERES Conference
Boston, MA


6/23-25 | PV America East
Boston, MA


Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
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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.

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.