IREC 2008 Innovation Award Winners

October 13, 2008. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) awarded four Innovation Awards and five Special Recognition Awards at their annual meeting on October 13, 2008 in San Diego, CA.

This year’s winners of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc.’s Innovation Awards include a solar mapping project providing a one-stop shop for the San Francisco community; the significant impact of a non profit organization in San Diego; a unique renewable energy site assessment service in Wisconsin; and a novel approach to the production of methane, and ultimately biodiesel, from algae harvested in municipal wastewater in Santa Rosa.

The 2008 innovation winners are the San Francisco Department of the Environment, the California Center for Sustainable Energy, Wisconsin Focus on Energy, and the City of Santa Rosa.

The winners were selected through a competitive process.

Ken Jurman, IREC’s Chair, said, “If one were to relate a country’s “carbon footprint” to an actual shoe size, the carbon footprint of the United States would likely put Shaquille O’Neal’s size 21 EEE to shame. Whether through outreach and education, public policy, research and development, or other actions helping drive the move towards clean energy, these winners deserve our thanks and recognition for their hard work and success.”

In addition to the Innovation Awards, IREC also takes a moment to say “thank you” to people and organizations that have made an extraordinary contribution to renewable energy and to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc..

Special recognition awards went to Vote Solar, the Solar Alliance’s Four Pillars Policy Campaign, the Network for New Energy Choices’ Freeing the Grid report card, the Small Wind Certification Council and to Jim Dunlop for his Photovoltaic Systems Textbook.

Below is more information on the 2008 Award Winners. For a complete description of these projects, please visit www.irecusa.org.

INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS

San Francisco Solar Map

Lead Partner: San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment)

Other Partners: CH2M Hill, U.S. Department of Energy, Clean Power Research

The San Francisco Solar Map is the City’s central outreach and education tool to help residents and businesses install solar. The Solar Map displays all known solar electric installations in San Francisco and gives residents and businesses a detailed estimate of their building’s solar potential. It also connects them to information and resources to learn about solar, find an installer and learn what incentives are available. By mapping existing solar installations and providing industry-independent solar potential assessments, the Solar Map creates an unbiased educational resource and provides a one-stop shop for the community with fact sheets, local solar resources, and information about solar incentives. The Solar Map can be accessed at http://sf.solarmap.org.

Aquatic Biomass to Fuel

Lead Project Partner: City of Santa Rosa

Other Project Partners: Michael Cohen, Assistant Professor of Biology, Sonoma State University

The City of Santa Rosa, in collaboration with Sonoma State University Researchers, is demonstrating a novel approach to the production of methane, and ultimately biodiesel, from algae harvested in municipal wastewater. Algae in wastewater convert sunlight and CO2 into biogas while helping to purify the City’s municipal wastewater by removing residual nitrates, phosphates, and metals. The City of Santa Rosa’s primary objective is to demonstrate that converting aquatic biomass into biofuel is a cost effective, easily replicated technology that can be employed by wastewater facilities around the region.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy

Lead Project Partner: California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. Department of Energy

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), a non-profit organization, has become a recognized leader for their successful implementation of a combination of utility ratepayer, taxpayer, and privately funded programs focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. CCSE manages a broad array of financial and other incentives to advance the use of renewable energy including the California Solar Initiative, the Solar Water Heating Pilot Program, the Self Generation Incentive Program, the Tax Exempt Customer Program, the Fueling Alternatives Rebate Program, and the Cool Communities Shade Trees Program. From humble beginnings and a small grant to implement the San Diego Regional Energy Strategy, CCSE now boasts a staff of forty and more than 25 million dollars in annual revenues. It is considered a one-stop shop for educating thousands and broadly implementing renewable energy strategies.

Wisconsin Renewable Energy Site Assessment Service

Lead Project Partner: Wisconsin Focus on Energy

Other Project Partners: Midwest Renewable Energy Association

Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program (Focus), in partnership with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), has created a Renewable Energy Site Assessment Service, which provides training in wind and solar site assessments of residences, businesses and farms. Citizens considering renewables are often overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to assess whether a renewable energy system is right for their particular circumstances. Focus saw a critical need to simplify the process and to provide unbiased, third party information to customers to help them make an informed choice. Thus the Site Assessment Service was born. To date the program has trained nearly 80 site assessors who in turn have performed nearly 500 assessments for citizens.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD WINNERS

Vote Solar

Vote Solar was started in 2001 on the heels of the successful grassroots effort to pass a ballot initiative to put solar on public buildings in San Francisco. Today, Vote Solar is working with states to implement the necessary policies to build strong solar markets and pave the way for a transition to a renewable energy economy. As Vote Solar’s Executive Director Adam Browning says, “The current solar story is a potent, volatile mix, with more moving parts than a Rube Goldberg machine, and more story lines than General Hospital. The challenge is to get the policies right to replace the lifeblood of the world’s largest economy with an industry currently in its infancy.” We thank Adam and his excellent staff for all the work they do on behalf of solar and renewable energy.

The Solar Alliance – Four Pillars

The Solar Alliance is an industry group dedicated to accelerating the promise of photovoltaic energy in the United States by focusing on state activities. The Alliance has highlighted “Four Pillars” of energy policy required to drive real, cost-effective solar markets. The four policy areas are Standards and Incentives, Net Metering, Interconnection, and Utility Rates and Revenue Polices. We thank the Solar Alliance for highlighting these four major policy areas; designing the visual of the Four Pillars leading to a clear understanding of what is needed for success; and their ongoing involvement with the states.

Network for New Energy Choices – Freeing the Grid

In November 2007, the Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC) released the second edition of Freeing the Grid. The publication ranked state level policies on their effectiveness at encouraging net metering and also evaluated states’ interconnection standards. This “report card” had a dramatic impact on states and how they placed compared to other states bringing to the forefront the importance of good net metering and interconnection rules. The Network for New Energy Choices deserves special recognition for their commitment to publishing this document and making it a symbol for change. We thank NNEC’s Executive Director Kyle Rabin and his powerful staff for all that they do.

Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC)

This recognition award goes to the Small Wind Certification Council and to all of the states and stakeholders that have stepped up-to-the-plate early to form this credentialing body that will certify that small wind turbines meet or exceed the performance, durability, and safety requirements of the Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard. Through the development of the initial business plan and the forming of its organizational and operational framework, the SWCC is now an independent non profit organization with a Board of Directors and an Executive Director prepared to take the organization into its implementation stage. We thank all involved for moving this important independent verification group forward.

Jim Dunlop – Author of the Textbook Photovoltaic Systems

Developed in partnership with American Technical Publishers and the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Jim Dunlop authored this ground-breaking PV textbook that covers the fundamentals, design and installation of PV systems with emphasis on safe, code compliant and quality installations. Jim has given the PV Community a top-notch, professional instructional text leading to quality training for the PV installer. The textbook demonstrates Jim’s enduring dedication to photovoltaics and the people who work with this energy technology.

 

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