Front row L to R: Jane Weissman, IREC; Catherine Finneran, MassCEC; Maria O'Farrell, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center; David Warner, IREC; Lyra Rakusin, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, Jennifer Martin, Kankakee Community College; TIm Wilhelm, Kankakee Community College. Back row: Sean White; Adam Capage, 3D Degrees; Dr. Michael G. Boyd, Kankakee Community College
Front row L to R: Jane Weissman, IREC; Catherine Finneran, MassCEC; Maria O’Farrell, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center; David Warner, IREC; Lyra Rakusin, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, Jennifer Martin, Kankakee Community College; TIm Wilhelm, Kankakee Community College. Back row: Sean White; Adam Capage, 3D Degrees; Dr. Michael G. Boyd, Kankakee Community College

From Your Votes: The 2014 National 3iAward Winners

IREC honored its 2014 national 3iAward winners – for Innovation, Ingenuity, Inspiration in renewable energy and energy efficiency – at an awards ceremony on the show floor at SPI. This year’s winners in each competitive category were for the first time selected by some 1,000 online voters.

“With these awards we’re proud to recognize individuals, programs and projects setting the standards that will make a clean energy future possible,” said IREC Board Chair David Warner. “We recognize innovative solutions to solving tough problems; we salute the ingenuity of those developing novel concepts and implementing new ideas that advance the use of clean energy; and we thank those who inspire others to make a difference.”

“Today we celebrate the nation’s trailblazers who are leading the way, and inspiring others to transform communities with sustainable solutions,” added Ken Jurman, chair of IREC’s 3i Awards Committee.

IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman added the IREC perspective: “In nearly every state, rules and practices are making it easier, safer and more affordable for millions of consumers to benefit from renewable energy and energy efficiency. And to meet the explosive demand, we’re working to prepare a highly skilled clean energy workforce, so consumers get quality results from their clean energy investments.”

Awards were presented for: State & Local Government Project of the Year, Community Renewable Project of the Year, IREC Accredited Training Providers of the Year, and IREC Certified Trainer of the Year. [hr]

Honored Award Recipients

State & Local Project of the Year

MassCEC Internship Program

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Internship Program helps prepare the next generation of clean energy workers by connecting students and recent college graduates with Massachusetts clean energy companies for internships. This program has seen hundreds of students and recent graduates placed at clean energy companies across the Commonwealth, with successful internships regularly resulting in full time positions for recent graduates at their host companies. In summer 2014, MassCEC received 993 student applications from students and placed 212 of those students in summer internships at 125 clean energy companies across Massachusetts. More than 50 students have attained permanent employment since the inception of the program.

In 2013, 46 percent of program participants were women and 26 percent of program participants were from a minority background. With a growth rate of 11.8 percent from 2012 to 2013, and a total of 79,994 clean energy workers, along with 5,557 clean energy firms operating in Massachusetts (according to MassCEC’s 2013 Clean Energy Industry Report), the news continues to indicate a robust growth of clean energy jobs in Massachusetts.

Community Renewable Project of the Year

City of Creve Coeur, MO – EPA Green Power Community Challenge

In 2008, the City of Creve Coeur, Missouri signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and was the first municipality in the St. Louis region to complete a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory resulting in a resolution to reduce GHG Emissions by 20 percent by 2015. In 2013, the City teamed up with Ameren Missouri Pure Power and Microgrid Energy to start an EPA Green Power Community Challenge. Support came from large and small businesses, schools, non-profits and residents.

Today, they are matching 3.2 percent of the energy consumed within the community with green power coming from renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the installation of solar. There have been 23 commercial and 26 residential solar projects installed, totaling 805 kW. Additionally, businesses and residents are purchasing RECs and matching 15,390,128 kWh annually, for an environmental impact equivalent to reducing 10,612 metric tons of CO2, which is equal to removing 2,234 cars from the road.

IREC Accredited Clean Energy Training Providers of the Year

Kankakee Community College

Kankakee Community College’s (KCC) renewable energy program integrates a market development component into its solar PV training program. This component includes training local electrical inspectors in PV, and partnering with U.S. equipment manufacturers, local installers, lenders and community organizations to support a local solar job market. An objective of KCC’s PV program is to positively impact local economies by helping overcome common barriers, and developing a pipeline for students from underrepresented and minority groups.

Partnered with Illinois Green Economy Network and Illinois State University, KCC’s Solar for Schools program offered professional development to local junior high and high school teachers to integrate solar energy curriculum and hands-on lab equipment for more than 100 students in 2014. KCC views these schools as feeder schools for its renewable energy program. In addition, KCC is educating the local public through free demonstrations on solar basics and economics through ‘Power Hour’ presentations. KCC is now partnering with colleges throughout the Midwest to replicate its PV market development and training program.

Currently, some 40 students annually receive training from KCC’s renewable energy program, and that number is expected to increase substantially upon completion of a new 21,000 square foot renewable energy training facility slated for 2015.

NC Clean Energy Technology Center

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center, formerly the North Carolina Solar Center, has been at the forefront of clean energy technologies and training for more than 25 years. Its award winning Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series (RETDS), a continuing education program, provides numerous professional continuing education credits and pathways to industry-recognized certifications.

The programs address the workforce needs of the industry on multiple fronts, from installers and inspectors, to instructors and project developers and beyond. As one of eight regional training providers in the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), the center’s workshops and online tools educate community college instructors, college professors and local inspectors on a broad array of solar topics. Utility staff and all military branches also receive customized renewable energy training from the center.

NC CETC’s classroom learning is supplemented with an outdoor renewable energy lab with fully operational grid-tied PV, wind and solar thermal systems. A mobile PV trailer installs fully operational PV systems off-site at numerous community colleges and military bases. A 40-hour NABCEP entry-level PV curriculum, DSIRE feeds, learning exercises and installation videos are available to the 100+ community college instructors in their region through the SITN. Currently, some 500 students receive training annually from NC CETC.

IREC Certified Clean Energy Trainer of the Year

Sean White

Sean is an IREC Certified Master Trainer for PV installation, and his company, Sean White Solar, is an IREC Accredited Training Provider. In addition, he is a NABCEP certified solar PV installation professional and a NABCEP PV entry level program provider. In fact, Sean was on the NABCEP PV Installer Exam Committee and helped author the NABCEP PV Installer Task Analysis. He is a licensed electrician and a licensed solar contractor in California. He also is on the energy storage task group of the Solar ABCs PV industry stakeholder group.

A community college PV professor since 2008, Sean has conducted solar energy courses that combine classroom education and hands-on workshops internationally for a wide variety of clients. He teaches classes on a regular basis for Diablo Valley College (CA), MERALCO (the main utility in the Philippines), Solar Universe (CA), Kaplan across the USA, and students in Canada, China, South Africa, Mongolia, South Africa and Qatar.