2009 Annual Innovation Award Winners

IREC Selects the 2009 Winners of Innovative Renewable Energy Projects

By: Jane Pulaski

2009 IREC Innovation Award Winners

October 26, 2009.  Anaheim, CA.  The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) awarded  six Innovation Awards and five Special Recognition Awards at its annual meeting on October 26, 2009 in Anaheim, CA.  Selected through a competitive process, the Innovation Awards were made in six categories: The Rahus Institute (non-profit); the State of Michigan (state government); We Energies (college and university); the Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center (workforce development); Bonneville Environmental Foundation  (K-12); and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (local government).

“This year’s Innovation Awards nominations were unprecedented in the number submitted and the scope of activities being undertaken across the country, adding yet more proof that renewable energy and concepts of sustainability are starting to permeate the collective consciousness of the American public,” said Ken Jurman, IREC’s Chair.

Below is more information on the 2009 Award Winners:

Non-profit: The Rahus Institute, for solar and clean energy curriculum, training materials and training for K-12, college and workforce development educators.

State government: The State of Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, a newly reorganized state agency for renewable energy and energy efficiency to invest in the energy sector and create jobs in Michigan.

College & University: We Energies, for its Renewable Energy R&D Grant Program that partnered with two local universities to help support the advancement of R&D specifically related to renewable energy technologies.

Workforce development: To the Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center’s ‘PV, Solar Thermal and Energy Efficiency Faculty Professional Development Program,’ for high school and community college faculty instruction in starting “green” programs in photovoltaics, solar thermal and energy efficiency.

K-12: The Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s ‘Solar 4R Schools program,’ which educates students and teachers about solar electric power and includes a curriculum package that uses the web-based, real-time data generated by each installation.

Local government: The Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (CA) SolarShares program which offers subscriptions to its customers in a 1MW solar farm.

“IREC congratulates all the winners and thanks them for their efforts, and we pledge to help drive the message home and to help remove barriers to wider acceptance and use of renewable energy,” said Jurman.

For a complete description of these projects, please visit www.irecusa.org.

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..

This year, IREC’s Special Recognition awards went to:

Tom Kimbis

Until recently, Tom Kimbis was the Director of Market Transformation for the Solar Program at the U.S. Department of Energy. Tom led the creation of the Solar America Cities program, a Federal-City partnership with 25 cities across the U.S. to reduce the barriers to commercialization of solar technologies. IREC extends our sincere thanks to Tom for his vision and leadership with the national solar market transformation efforts and for his insight and guidance with our key issues of codes and standards, net metering, and workforce development.

David L. Block

David Block is Director Emeritus of the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), having resigned as Center Director in November 2002 after serving as FSEC’s Director for 25 years. Under his leadership, FSEC earned national and international recognition as the largest and most active state-supported solar energy institute in the nation. At the present time, he is the Project Manager of FSEC’s NASA hydrogen research grant and the Program Manager for the Florida Alternative Energy Banner Center. Dave was one of the founding fathers of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (known then as the Interstate Solar Coordination Council). For all of his work and commitment to excellence over the years, we extend a heartfelt thank you.

Carl Siegrist

Carl Siegrist is the Senior Renewable Energy Strategist/Solar Programs Manager at We Energies. He is responsible for developing and implementing solar and other renewable energy programs and projects within the company and with their partners. Carl is on the Solar Electric Power Association’s Board of Directors and is also on the Board of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. He brings his expertise and experience of the utility business and renewable energy to these Boards and to IREC. As a long-time IREC member, supporter, and friend, we recognize Carl as a special person for all that he does for solar and renewables.

Mark Mrohs

Mark Mrohs is currently the Senior Manager of Training for the Residential and Light Commercial Division of SunPower Corporation, and previously worked for AstroPower, GE Solar, Siemens Solar and ARCO Solar. He is a preeminent specialist in PV training, having worked in PV for over 35 years and conducted programs in 23 countries. SunPower has been conducting installation, design and sales training programs for their dealer network since 2006 and under Mark’s direction, the training has evolved into a sophisticated program that offers professional certifications. Mark was an early supporter of Mark Fitzgerald’s Institute for Sustainable Power and we thank Mark for his commitment to quality standards in training.

Kathryn Sikule

Kathy Sikule, founder of Brownstone Graphics, has been making IREC look good in our print and electronic media since the early 1990s. For 15 years, Brownstone Graphics has been by our side promoting renewable and sustainable energy resources and practices. Kathy’s vision of a company that benefits clients and employees, as well as the greater good, continues to thrive today. We consider Brownstone Graphics an important partner and friend and recognize Kathy for making IREC a better organization.


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