IREC Spotlights Innovative Projects in Renewable Energy
Innovation and Special Recognition Awards Presented at IREC Annual Meeting 2010
October 11, 2010. Los Angeles, CA – The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today awarded five Innovation Awards and six Special Recognition Awards at its 2010 Annual Meeting.
“This year’s Innovation Awards targeted initiatives aimed at supporting clean energy workforce development, community renewables, financial incentives, clean energy ARRA projects, and efforts to grow the small wind market,” said Ken Jurman, IREC chair. “Each of this year’s winning submissions demonstrate initiatives and best practices that are helping move clean energy technologies closer to becoming the norm rather than the exception.”
Selected through a competitive process, the 2010 Innovation Awardees include: Lakota Solar Enterprises for its Solar Energy for Great Plains Tribal Communities (clean energy ARRA project); Mountain View Solar’s The JOBS Project (community renewables); We Energies’ Solar for Humanity (clean energy workforce development); The Morris County Improvement Authority’s MORRIS Model (clean energy financial program); and iCast’s rural agricultural applications for small wind in rural Eastern Colorado (small wind).
2010 Innovation Award Winners
Clean Energy ARRA Project Category
Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) for its Solar Energy for Great Plains Tribal Communities
Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), a Native American-owned and operated renewable energy business on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, is harnessing the power of nature to improve the quality of life in tribal communities.
With non-profit partner, Trees, Water & People (TWP), LSE developed the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), a unique educational facility where tribes from around the nation can receive hands-on training in renewable energy applications from Native American trainers. Thirty-eight members of the Rosebud Sioux, Spirit Lake, and Cheyenne River tribes attended 10-day ARRA-funded training sessions at RCREC, earning their Solar Technician I certification. With their new knowledge and skills, participants returned to their reservations and installed ARRA-funded solar air heating systems for tribal families in their communities. ARRA also funded renovations to RCREC, including a concrete floor with radiant heating, and a gravel road to increase accessibility for delivery trucks and trainees. Visit http://www.treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/tribal_intro.htm
Community Renewables Category
The JOBS Project: Creating Job Opportunities in Renewable Energy for the People in Central Appalachia
The JOBS Project Team has been working on developing community-owned approaches to renewable energy in the heart of the Central Appalachian coalfields.
Its first project will be three solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on businesses in downtown Williamson, West Virginia. One of these businesses is the JOBS Project’s office, which is located next to Williamson’s famous coal house (made out of coal), which also serves as the city’s Chamber of Commerce office. One of the project’s partners, Mountain View Solar, will conduct a three-day workshop with local electricians during the installation. One of these electricians, a former employee of Massey Energy, will be opening a PV installation company shortly following these workshops. Please follow this link for more information: Visit: http://jobs-project.org/
Clean Energy Workforce Development Category
We Energies: Solar for Humanity
Solar for Humanity, focused on workforce development and community partnerships, uses Habitat for Humanity homes as real training roofs for solar PV and solar thermal installers.
By the end of 2010, more than 90 solar PV and solar thermal systems will be installed on homes throughout the We Energies service territory, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity chapters in Wisconsin, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and non-union contractors. The partnerships were developed to help develop jobs and to create a more robust North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) solar installer base within the service territory, educate the general public about solar technologies and energy efficiency, and bring solar power to lower income households. All parties plan to grow and continue this effort making it the largest renewable energy training partnership in the Midwest. Visit http://www.we-energies.com/business/energyeff/solarforhumanity.htm
Financial Incentive Program Category
Morris County Improvement Authority: The MORRIS Model
Developed in 2009, the Morris Model is a unique method for financing municipal renewable energy projects through low-interest bonds, traditional Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and federal tax incentives.
The result of a public-private partnership between Morris County, NJ and solar project developers Tioga Energy and SunDurance Energy, the Morris Model pilot program will result in 19 solar installations at municipal and educational facilities totaling 3.2 MW of clean energy. The Morris Model combines PPAs, provided by Tioga Energy, and $22.3 million in low-interest bonds issued by the Morris County Improvement Authority.
In addition to the low cost of the bonds, the savings collected from federal tax incentives available to Tioga Energy as a private developer are passed down to the county. As a result, the county receives inexpensive solar electricity (at a lower rate then the local electric utility), saving more than $2 million in electricity costs. Additionally, the creation of this innovative financing model can be easily replicated by other New Jersey municipalities interested in moving to solar.
Small Wind Category
iCast: Pilot Program for Small Wind Turbine Installations in Agricultural Applications for Rural Eastern Colorado
This program evaluated and promoted the use of farm-scale wind turbines across rural communities and family farms in eastern Colorado and has helped to stimulate growth of the small wind industry.
The project developed the feasibility, oversaw the installation and showcased wind turbines ranging in size from 1.8kW to 50kW for feed yards, elevators, irrigation systems, stock wells, homesteads and other agricultural applications at multiple locations across eastern Colorado.
Turbine installations were evaluated and an outreach program was created to promote small wind as a means to offset producers’ retail cost of energy. An estimated total savings of $623,815 will occur over the life of one 50kW system. Visit http://www.icastusa.org
“Efforts like these are why I feel confident that the children of today will grow up to a world where solar and other clean energy technologies are as common place to them as their cell phones, iPods and the Internet,” said Jurman.
For a complete description of these projects, please visit www.irecusa.org.
Special Recognition Award Winners
Also during its Annual Meeting, IREC recognizes people and organizations that have made an extraordinary contribution to renewable energy and to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. This year, IREC’s Special Recognition awardees are:
Mark Frickel and IREC started working together in 2008 when he became an energy analyst with Sentech, Inc., supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program in their efforts to promote workforce training, certification and accreditation. Mark brought first-hand experience to this position from a clean energies career as a solar installer in California and from working abroad as an energy analyst. He recently left his position with Sentech/DOE to pursue interests overseas. Mark’s leadership and expertise, and his role in bringing high-quality training to the solar workforce will be missed.
Susan Gouchoe has been the powerhouse behind the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for well over a decade. Susan’s work focused on analyzing government and utility renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives and policies. She has been the leading “go-to” person in the renewable energy community. Ten years ago, DSIRE contained about 250 entries for state government and utility renewable energy programs and policies. In recent years, the database was expanded to include energy efficiency and green building policies. The result is a 10-fold increase in the number of programs captured in DSIRE. As Rusty Haynes, DSIRE’s current project manager, states: “Sue’s leadership in the renewables policy arena over the last 10 years has been indispensable.” In April, Susan retired as policy program manager for the North Carolina Solar Center at NC State University to pursue other projects.
Brad Klein is a staff attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, working on a broad range of clean energy and clean water litigation and policy issues. Brad served as a law clerk for Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and worked as a law fellow at the Environmental Law Institute. Brad has laid the groundwork and led the charge for dramatic improvements in interconnection procedures and net metering rules across the Midwest, always building coalitions and listening attentively to utility perspectives to find solutions. In several states, Brad has worked closely with IREC, and he is recognized for his invaluable work on interconnection procedures in Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas.
Kris Mayes was appointed to the Arizona Corporation Commission in October 2003. She has devoted much of her time since the appointment to pipeline safety, renewable energy and natural gas issues. Kris was a reporter for the Phoenix Gazette and the Arizona Republic and co-authored a book entitled, “Spin Priests: Campaign Advisors and the 2000 Race for the White House.” During Chairman Mayes’ tenure, the Arizona Corporation Commission has implemented one of the country’s most innovative market structures for deploying clean, distributed generation and empowering retail electric customers to exercise more control over their energy choices. Her leadership on solar policy issues in particular has positioned Arizona as a leading market for solar investment and development.
Joseph Sarubbi has brought excellence to renewable energy training. He has had more than 35 years experience in education and the electrical construction and maintenance industry. Joseph’s latest masterpiece is the launching of an incredible facility, TEC-SMART, which is Hudson Valley Community College’s “Training and Education Center for Semi-Conductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies.” He is also a professor and former department chair of the Building Systems Technology Department at the college. In September 2009, Joseph toured President Obama through his laboratories at HVCC, and has twice given expert testimony on clean energy education for the U. S. House of Representatives. Joseph is a tireless worker on behalf of renewable energy in New York State and nationally.
Carol Weis has been a trainer for Solar Energy International (SEI) since 1998. As PV Program Coordinator at SEI, Carol writes and updates SEI’s PV and Advanced PV curriculum and instructs in both the hands-on and online workshops. Through her work in the industry, Carol has traveled internationally to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Mexico. She is also a licensed electrician in the state of Colorado, a NABCEP Certified PV Installer, and an Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Master PV Trainer. IREC recognizes Carol for her dedication to bringing top-notch training to so many people; for her inclusiveness and caring; and for her commitment to raising the bar for the renewable energy workforce.