OAKLAND, CA; April 10, 2024 — GRID Alternatives has been accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) for its Installations Basics Training 200 Program, which provides hands-on training to entry-level solar installers. GRID’s IREC Accreditation will be held at Headquarters, with Central Valley being the first affiliate to secure accreditation. The accreditation is valid for five years. Once accreditation has been secured, GRID will continue applying to add additional affiliates to become accredited training providers until all affiliates have earned IREC accreditation.

An IREC credential is a nationally recognized mark of quality training in the clean energy industry. Students, employers, funders, and other stakeholders look for the IREC mark to find high-quality training that meets safety requirements and is aligned with industry needs.

GRID Alternatives’ (GRID) industry-vetted Installation Basics Training 200-hour program (IBT 200) trains solar workers with a comprehensive combination of interactive classroom learning, hands-on lab activities, and real-world installation experience. GRID launched its IBT 200 program early in 2019 after many years of offering informal training on the roof to thousands of individuals and informal trainees who volunteered to support community projects.

“IREC developed its accreditation program to recognize high-quality training opportunities and close the skills gap between education providers and industry needs,” said Cynthia Finley, IREC Vice President for Workforce Strategy and Innovation. “We congratulate GRID Alternatives for meeting the high standards required to achieve IREC accreditation.”

“The IREC accreditation is a major milestone for workforce development at GRID Alternatives. We are grateful for the ongoing relationship we have developed with IREC over the years. Their guidance and support during the accreditation process were first-class. The recognition shows the evolution of our workforce development program and how it has become increasingly structured to deliver maximum impact to the individuals and the communities we serve,” noted Adewale OgunBadejo, GRID Alternatives Vice President of Workforce Development. “We are building one of the nation’s most competitive clean energy workforce programs, which goes a long way in validating the quality of the training curriculum we deliver.”

As one of the leading accrediting bodies for clean energy training in the United States, IREC’s high standards and rigorous application process require applicants to demonstrate a robust approach to quality in all major areas of training program operations. IREC has accredited over 200 clean energy and home energy performance training programs and certified over 100 instructors.

The IBT 200 program offers an accessible entry point for anyone interested in becoming a solar installer or more, including those who may have never had the opportunity to discover a career in renewable energy. GRID’s unique community-driven approach ensures the communities most impacted by environmental and economic inequities are at the forefront of the opportunities presented by this unique workforce development program. GRID has an emphasis on working with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), women and nonbinary genders, LGBTQIA+, veterans, people with disabilities, and people impacted by the criminal justice system. GRID has also hired and developed skilled trainers with lived experience from the target communities served, many of whom have been through the IBT program and can now use their skills to train the next generation of renewable energy workers and entrepreneurs. Other IBT program alumni have also started their businesses and returned to GRID to hire because they know the quality and standards of GRID’s IBT 200 program.

“The accreditation process has been five years in the making. It has been a rigorous process with many obstacles to circumvent, but our team met and exceeded every challenge. This achievement exemplifies being solutions-driven and is a signature moment for us as an organization, making an essential shift to becoming an industry-recognized training provider,” added OgunBadejo.

GRID continuously improves its Installation Basics Training program to meet the exciting growth and demand for a clean energy workforce. This accreditation will only validate GRID’s great work and help them refine, systematize, and scale the IBT 200 program further so that more individuals from local communities can access clean energy careers. It is also a model for formalizing other workforce development programs across the organization. Additionally, streamlining programs will lead to continued growth, long-term sustainability, and reach of GRID’s work.

As the clean energy economy proliferates, employers urgently need to locate and hire well-qualified workers. IREC credentials help job seekers locate high-quality training opportunities that prepare them to enter the clean energy workforce and help employers identify quality training options for their staff.

Learn more about IREC credentialing and quality assurance at https://irecusa.org/clean-energy-training/credentials/.

About IREC:

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) builds the foundation for rapidly adopting clean energy and energy efficiency to benefit people, the economy, and our planet. Its vision is a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient, and equitable. IREC develops and advances the regulatory reforms, technical standards, and workforce solutions needed to enable the streamlined integration of clean, distributed energy resources. IREC has been trusted for its independent clean energy expertise for over 40 years since its founding in 1982. For more information, visit irecusa.org or follow IREC on X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.

About GRID Alternatives:

GRID Alternatives is an international, U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. GRID works in the U.S., Mexico, Nepal, and Nicaragua and has installed solar photovoltaic systems on more than 29,500  homes and affordable housing developments in underserved communities while providing more than 33,200 individuals with workforce development training. GRID also provides clean mobility solutions and battery storage and is a leading voice in low-income solar policy development in the U.S.  Installation Basics Training (IBT), a competency-based certificate program designed to develop the skills most relevant to entry-level solar installation jobs and related construction employment fields. Trainees learn solar installation skills, OSHA 10 safety standards, first aid and CPR, and soft skills, including interpersonal communication and dependability, to help job trainees obtain and sustain employment.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Wanda Heard, Sr. Public Relations and Advocacy Manager, GRID Alternatives, [email protected], 510. 877.5795

Avery Palmer, Communications Projects Director, IREC, [email protected], (202)-302-2765