I write this message from a plane leaving DC and heading home to Colorado, finishing up a whirlwind month of meetings with federal decision makers, workforce and regulatory partners and funders. As you read this, I am in my first days as the new president and CEO of IREC. Wow! What a privilege and honor it is to lead this great organization as we continue to work for a clean energy future.
First, I cannot thank Jane Weissman enough for her decades of tireless work to encourage the development of clean energy resources. She always pursues the highest quality in everything she touches – from solar installations to the IREC Team. Her belief that quality installations and quality people are the path to a clean energy future, has raised the proverbial bar for not only the industry, but also for so many of us as individuals. It is a tribute to Jane’s leadership to note what a passionate, dedicated, and talented group of professionals she assembled to carry out IREC’s mission around the country. They are top notch and I hope you have the opportunity to interact with them in your own work.
As I assume the lead at IREC, I will not try to be Jane’s clone. Rather, I hope that several years from now, Jane can look at our achievements and see her work continuing in new ways.
I know that IREC’s mission is as critical today as it was over the past two decades – to ensure the long-term growth of clean energy technologies. I am dedicated to advancing that mission and continuing IREC’s uniquely independent programs, expertise and resources.
Today, distributed energy resources, especially photovoltaics, are installed around the country in far greater numbers than we could have imagined a decade or two ago. Critical to continuing that growth is our work to ensure safe, quality installations and a fair consumer experience. Building on these foundations, we can sustain solar marketplace growth in the decades ahead. And that includes increasing numbers of DER installations in states with strong solar markets and in states that are soon to follow.
Here’s how IREC will continue to lead us into a renewable future.
IREC will continue to innovate in workforce development, ensuring quality by:
- Certifying trainers and accrediting training providers.
- Training workers in allied professions.
- Developing quality educational opportunities for students who are the next generation of talent.
IREC will further expand consumer access to DER through:
- Easing integration and interconnection of higher penetrations of DERs without compromising grid safety and reliability.
- Expanding access to DER through effective programs for low and moderate income Americans and those with no solar access from their home.
IREC will strengthen consumer protection and build consumer confidence through:
- Empowering consumers to manage energy use, access energy data and benefit from DERs.
- Resources such as a Be Solar Smart Checklist, which educates consumers to help them make informed decisions about a clean energy investment.
- Advocating for industry, retailers and others to follow IREC’s Consumer Bill of Rights.
IREC has shaped the long view for nearly 35 years. Our programs build a marketplace that can sustain long-term growth for a future of clean renewable energy and energy efficiency.
I look forward to your continued involvement with IREC, and I encourage you to contact me any time you have comments or suggestions. I’m here – often at my desk in Colorado. Always virtually.
Please follow me on Twitter @LLSherwood and on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/larrysherwood.