Horn Blowing

Sometimes we need to blow a horn or two. In this case, there are several blasts in order.

Among IREC’s most critical goals is to share what we know. From our work on the ground in multiple state energy regulatory proceedings, our experts identify challenges and solutions to issues surrounding fair and efficient connection to the grid, including the best new ways to plan for increased distributed renewables and transformational technologies like energy storage. At the same time, we work alongside advocates and others to increase access for populations and communities not yet able to benefit from affordable clean energy or energy efficiency improvements — i.e., low income and moderate income families, multi-unit dwellers and renters.

This work needs to be shared widely to minimize the learning curve (and with it costly delays, miscalculations and mistakes) as other states move forward to increase the reach of renewable energy. This year in particular, our regulatory team has made a measurable difference not only directly engaged in a number of states, but with the development of several new tools and resources that help other state decision makers consider, plan for and adopt forward-thinking, fair policies and practices so more Americans can enjoy the benefits of clean energy, as collectively we act to mitigate climate change and make our world more sustainable.

Exactly how many states were impacted by our work in 2017? Hard numbers show us that the IREC team was active in a total of 24 regulatory proceedings in 15 states. Click To Tweet Equally important, our experiences in these states, and the recommended best practices they inform, are now making their way into the hands of regulators, legislators, utilities and advocates across the country.

What about your state? In addition to our own communications efforts, we welcome your help sharing these unique resources with your own regional contacts. We hear from old and new friends alike that as an independent voice — and a trusted source of fact-based expertise — IREC’s tools are welcome contributions at all stages of discussion, planning and regulating clean energy policies and practices.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am sincerely grateful for the extraordinary work of the IREC team, whose expertise and work ethic are legendary in our nation’s regulatory and workforce arenas, and who inspire the generosity of our foundation, individual and corporate funders throughout the year.  If you appreciate and benefit from their unique work, please consider making a donation to IREC in their honor. Your gratitude will be passed along.

Here’s a bit about some of our most recent regulatory tools.

IREC's Shared Renewables ScorecardThe first National Shared Renewables Scorecard, now with detailed Report Cards, evaluates state shared renewables programs using objective criteria based on best practices for program design. It provides a valuable tool to compare the 14 active programs across 11 states and DC using an A+ through D- grading system that reflects a program’s strengths and weaknesses. Recently added Report Cards provide state policymakers and other stakeholders greater details and insight on specific program design elements that could be modified to align with best practices to increase effectiveness.

Complementing the Scorecard, IREC’s State Shared Renewable Energy Program Catalog compiles details of state shared renewables program rules. Together, the Catalog and Scorecard offer valuable insight into these programs.

Access for All: Pathways to Expand Solar Options to Renters and Multifamily Households in the CIty of SeattleAccess for All: Pathways to Expand Solar Options to Renters and Multifamily Households in the City of Seattle was developd for local governments, housing providers, utilities and others to better understand the various options to solar for multifamily housing based on the experience in Seattle, WA. The guide and surrounding work is connected to a related California effort to increase uptake of solar on multifamily housing using the existing Virtual Net Metering Tariff which has been available for years in California but has been vastly underutilized.

Cook County Jumpstarts Community Shared SolarCase Study: Cook County Jumpstarts Community Shared Solar offers other states, utilities and communities the opportunity to learn from the greater Chicago area example of how to enable multiple customers to share the benefits of a single solar project, ultimately expanding solar access to more consumers. Local, state and national partners worked together to overcome the education, information and market barriers to community shared solar and demonstrate a replicable community solar model.

Five Guiding Principles for Shared Renewable Energy ProgramsGuiding Principles for Shared Renewable Energy Programs is a timely update to the guiding principles that appeared in IREC’s original model rules first published in 2009 and updated in 2013. The 2017 modifications are intended to reflect evolutions in the market, inform program and policy design efforts and affirm the benefits of shared renewable energy programs to participants, the renewable energy industry, utilities and all energy consumers.

Priority Considerations for Interconnection Standards report Priority Considerations for Interconnection Standards is a supplement to IREC’s Interconnection Model Rules. The report offers key considerations for states working to update and improve interconnection procedures.

Charging Ahead: Energy Storage Guide for Policymakers reportCharging Ahead: Energy Storage Guide for Policymakers (and just released a brief executive summary takeaways document) provides regulators and other decision makers with specific guidance on key energy storage issues for policy considerations, including foundational policies for advanced energy storage — a new generation of technologies characterized by flexible operating capabilities and diverse applications.

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