IREC Releases Annual Updates and Trends Report

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) today released its Annual Updates & Trends Report, recognized nationally for its collective information and leading insight into growing and emerging trends in the fast-paced world of renewable energy.  This report is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The report, with chapters authored by many of the nation’s top experts in renewable energy, covers: regulatory issues, policies and incentives, installation and market data and clean energy workforce development and training.

“Pulling all of these issues together, IREC stays focused on developing strong, fair, safe and sustainable market and policy conditions that will move renewable energy into the mainstream,” says Jane Weissman, executive director, who released the report at IREC’s Annual Meeting here. “However, we also stand committed to the identification of new issues, and to overcoming the challenges that arise.”

Some report highlights follow:

Regulatory Issues
The first chapter’s regulatory focus highlights new and forthcoming ways to make renewable energy more accessible and affordable to more people. “Some of the exciting emerging opportunities are community solar and net metering meter aggregation, third-party ownership, the integration of advanced energy storage, and the smart grid,” says Weissman.

State Solar Incentives and Policies
While overall, solar policy development has continued its recent brisk pace of positive change, states faced several challenges over the past year, according to staff of the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) at the North Carolina Solar Center at NC State University. Collectively, renewable portfolio standards, direct cash incentive programs, and net metering and interconnection rules continue to move forward with improvements. Feed-in tariff policies slowed, however, and property-assessed clean energy financing basically came to a standstill.

Solar Installations
Even with poor economic conditions, solar markets continue to grow in the U.S., according to Chapter 3 author, Larry Sherwood. In his annual report on solar installations by technology, state and market sector, annual U.S. grid-connected PV installations grew by 40 percent in 2009, compared to 2008 — hitting a new industry milestone. However the rate of growth was significantly less.  “Considering the poor economy in 2009, this growth rate is still impressive,” says Sherwood.

Workforce Development and Training
“This is an exciting time of heightened awareness of the importance of clean technologies to our economy and environment,” says Weissman, in the final chapter. “A competent workforce is critical to the continued growth of renewable energy. And it is essential that the development of this workforce includes industry-accepted competency standards and job availability.”

How do potential clean energy workers and employers know a training program is teaching the right skills? What is the right curriculum? What’s the difference between an eight-hour certificate course and a professional certification? And how do these fit in with states that have licensure requirements? It can all be very confusing, especially for the consumer who is trying to determine if an installer is qualified. These and other timely issues in the clean energy workforce development and training arena are sorted out in this special report.

The 2010 Annual Update & Trends Report is available online or by contacting IREC at

Source:  IREC Press Release
Monday, October 11, 2010
Los Angeles, CA


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