Even a Good Model Needs an Occasional Remodel

When IREC became one of the lead groups to start the PV-COMPACT in 1993, we weren’t going to let geography get in our way of setting the policy that would commercialize solar electricity.  We were on the hunt for talent and signed up the best and the brightest without letting a stationary office model get in the way of action.  This gave IREC the chance to work with Tom Starrs from a small island off of Seattle; Shimon Awerbuch from Nashua, NH; Bill Brooks from Raleigh; and many other solar industry innovators spread across the country. We honed our skills and became a well-oiled, virtual organization long before the virtual   workplace became routine.

IREC is at a similar crossroads again as we shake off other outdated organizational and operational models. IREC’s Board of Directors has been busy for the past 20 months taking a hard look at how we, as a nonprofit organization, operate and how we can better keep our focus on shaping policy and practices for a growing clean energy economy. We continue to run by our own rule of disciplined agility.

So what does this all mean?  For starters, as of May 1, IREC is no longer a membership organization.  The Board believes that IREC’s membership model is no longer the best way to operate, to reach our goals. We never had thousands of members, but we do have thousands of supporters.  During past membership drives, we always struggled with the question, “What do I get for my membership?”  The answer was mostly that you get the same benefits and access whether you are a member or not, but your membership supports our work. Similar to the NPR model – you can still listen to our “programs” but your membership supports what you listen to.

The story doesn’t end here. We need – and want you to continue to be a part of what we do. You can do that in a number of ways. Continue to be among our 6,500 newsletter subscribers. Get the information you need to know about regulatory reform, workforce preparedness, credentialing, and other policy news.  Join us in Chicago in October when we gather to bring you the most up-to-date national and state trends and discuss why they are important. Check in often with our website; continue the conversations on our social networks…and please support our work. You can do so in a number of ways.

Our new website gives you an easy way to make a donation.  Your contribution makes a difference. It keeps us moving forward. You can also sponsor one of IREC’s events or publications. This sponsorship is more than showing your logo – it’s making a statement that you’re at the table with IREC on regulatory rules, on workforce issues, and that you’re keeping an eye on what matters.

There are other things on our new IREC docket. We’re shifting our annual innovation awards into a much higher gear. Better named IREC’s i-Awards, they represent innovation, ingenuity and inspiration. Competition is going to be tougher and national acknowledgment will be widespread. We hope you apply. If you’ve got a special project with a remarkable result, get recognized. Take a look at our new categories, and encourage other extraordinary clean energy leaders and programs to apply by July 1st.

This spring, IREC also filed an application to become accredited as an American Standards Developer.  This is not a step we took lightly.  We’ve been in the standards business for quite a while, providing a quality framework for workforce training, ensuring workforce competencies and safeguards for consumers.  We have been following ANSI’s general requirements for developing standards and now we’re going after third-party recognition.  We’ve been through an open comment period. Our application is going through the review stage. I’ll keep you posted as we move through the process.

You’ll be hearing from us a lot over the next few months with news for you to use. As always, we consider this a two-way street, so please keep us informed about what’s happening with you.

A million thanks for your continued confidence and support for IREC.

Talk with you soon.

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