trends report COVERToday’s release of Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future, an annual report by The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) presents information and an independent perspective on the year’s renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges across the U.S., and the activities, research, publications, expert insight and recommendations that are helping shape our clean energy future.

“The report offers a collection of new models, best practices and resources, across IREC’s broad work in the national and state regulatory arenas and as a leader in clean energy workforce development,” says IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman. “Unique to this report, IREC’s nationally respected experts present independent insight on the current issues that face stakeholders, as spectacular growth continues throughout the renewable energy and energy efficiency marketplace, including stories of some of the successes and challenges of 2014.”

In addition to delving into the latest trends, and the next challenges and solutions playing out in the most progressive states, the report also shares highlights from the many IREC publications that guide and shape regulatory and workforce development policies, including helping the nation’s colleges and training providers prepare a skilled, job-ready workforce.

“All of these points of action are linked and promote a responsive, safe and resilient clean energy economy,” says Weissman, “ultimately, enabling more consumers to safely, confidently and affordably benefit from clean energy.”

Some key topics in the report include:

  • How best practices are growing smart shared renewable programs, interconnection policies and quality workforce development.
  • How strategies to efficiently inspect and permit residential solar rooftop systems are bridging regulatory and quality workforce training initiatives. A look at the field tested, proven tools IREC has developed with guidance from code officials and solar experts.
  • Even with a perfect balance of good products, profitable pricing and proactive policies, poor workmanship can crash a market in no time. A look at what’s being done to ensure consumer confidence.
  • In the presidential limelight in 2014, IREC’s work with the Solar Instructor Training Network included helping SITN member colleges and training programs integrate solar skills into existing education and training programs, one way to ensure long-term workforce stability.
  • Now filtering into state procedures are the precedents set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s significant modifications to the federal Small Generator Interconnection Procedures late in 2013. These and other actions, and IREC’s outreach work in clean energy progressive and transitioning states, are shaping state and community conversations across the U.S.
  • Still a hot topic is IREC’s report Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation, which presents standardized approaches and calculations for solar benefits and costs. IREC’s goal is to develop a consistent methodological framework that moves some of the headline debates into well-structured conclusions.
  • Nationally, there’s a vocal, cross-industry dialogue on competency-based training – on building a qualified workforce for tomorrow’s jobs. IREC is leading the clean energy sector with programs to accredit training providers and certify instructors for competency-based assessment of “learned” skills. This is among leading indicators that make recruitment, screening and hiring straightforward and result in less overtime, less downtime, fewer mistakes and callbacks.
  • IREC’s U.S. Solar Market Trends publication (July 2014 ) reports that residential photovoltaic capacity grew by 68 percent in 2013. This tremendous growth and other highlights from this report set the backdrop for the need for IREC’s work, state by state and nationally.

IREC’s Trends Shaping Our Clean Energy Future was released at Solar Power International this week in Las Vegas. The full report is available online at and in print or on USB flash drive by request.