IREC has been a change-maker for three decades. Yet change is always uneasy until we experience the results. So when we decided last year that in October 2013 we would roll our annual meeting into a more active and visible partnership with Solar Power International (SPI) in Chicago, we dug in, worked hard to create an exciting new model, and secretly hoped for the best. And that’s exactly what we got.
A number of people said: “IREC is everywhere this week.” What a great thing to hear – not to wave the IREC flag but as recognition of all we are doing, how our partnerships and thought-leading work continue to shape our nation’s clean energy future.
Hundreds of industry representatives, educators, and stakeholders interacted with our experts over the week. We shared our insight, forecasts and recommendations on the hottest clean energy topics during our 30-minute 3iForum sessions. They shared their questions and perspectives, both on the SPI floor and in smaller, subject-specific gatherings IREC hosted. We listened. And some of what we learned will help shape our own plans and initiatives moving forward.
Also while in Chicago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced IREC’s new role as national administrator with the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) of a new initiative to build a training and education framework that grows the expertise and preparedness of current and future electric utility sector professionals – specifically to accommodate high penetrations of solar and other distributed technologies. Filling this workforce need is paramount to the success of solar and other distributed energy technologies. More under the acronym GEARED in this issue.
We released IREC’s 2013 Annual Updates and Trends Report from SPI, and with our partners at the Vote Solar Initiative, we announced the 2013 results of Freeing the Grid. This annual report grades all 50 states on two key policies: net metering and interconnection procedures and helps policymakers and other stakeholders make better sense of best practices and what needs to be done in their own state to clear the way for a 21st century approach to energy.
In front of a full house in the center of the SPI floor, we honored an impressive group of national award winners for the Best of 2013 in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In celebration of 20 years of recognizing exemplary people, projects and programs, this year the competitive awards were renamed the IREC 3iAwards. Please join us in celebrating these national trailblazers, whose passion to change the status quo enables and inspires others to transform communities with lasting solutions. (Read more on the 3iAward recipients and our special recognition awardees here).
One more exciting announcement from Chicago is the creation of the Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition (CECC), and our campaign to promote the importance of credentialing for people, products and programs. The strength of this group is that its founding members are all well-established, nationally accredited credentialing organizations with a collective commitment to better workmanship, products and training. A new landing page introduces the coalition and the campaign.
We want to thank the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Electric Power Association for welcoming IREC to SPI. Special thanks goes to Stephen Miner and his staff at Solar Energy Trade Shows. And, a special note of appreciation for the incredible visibility and work that Jim Callihan, Jennifer Runyon, Stephanie Kolodziej, Meg Cichon, and the entire Renewable Energy World staff accomplishes.
Talk with you soon.