Solar has Farm Teams Too!

It’s Opening Day week across the land as the Boys of Summer take the field. While it will be wonderful to see the lights back on at Fenway, I enjoy watching Spring Training and the new guys joining the team. Some will make the majors; others will go back to minor league ball.  Baseball has a great farm system offering players the training and experience they need for the main event, and giving management ways of identifying talent.

I look at the solar “farm system” that we have put into place over the years, and it’s impressive.

A national standardized exam that tests basic solar energy knowledge is offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). More than 15,000 people have passed this exam. Add the Solar Instructor Training Network and the nine regional providers that offer train-the-trainer courses and mentoring. Furthering efforts are the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Centers and the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), which provide multiple training ramps into the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. Insert IREC’s quality credentialing framework – providing assessment to two training standards – and the combined results are strong.

IREC was at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week discussing topics related to their Small Generator Interconnection Agreements Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR). Sky Stanfield and Mike Sheehan, representing IREC, spoke on a number of roundtable panels, including the one on fast track process eligibility, pre-application report, supplemental review screens, and interconnection of storage devices.

At the workshop, Sky and Mike helped provide context and support for the proposed revisions, relying on IREC’s experience with recent reforms in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts. IREC will submit written comments in support of the NOPR in June. If adopted, these changes will enable utilities to efficiently process interconnection applications for distributed generation projects even as higher penetrations are reached. The tariff will also act as a model for states considering reforms to their interconnection procedures.

IREC has a busy line-up for April.  We’ll be speaking at the ASES Conference in Baltimore, exhibiting at the American Association of Community Colleges’ Annual Convention in San Francisco, and then speaking and exhibiting at ACI’s Annual Conference in Denver.

We’re getting closer to the roll-out of the New IREC, early in May.

Here’s another preview:  In response to our growing Credentialing Program, I am very happy to let you know that Laure-Jeanne Davignon is now the director of IREC’s Credentialing Program and Pat Fox is the director of Credentialing Development. Both Pat and LJ bring years of upper management and operations expertise to IREC. We have a great Credentialing Program staff that continues to gain ground with an impressive batting average.

Talk with you soon.

Jane Weissman

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