When it comes to preparing a power systems workforce for the future – with more renewable energy on the grid – we’re proving that multi-faculty instructional resources and expertise across educational institutions are greater than the resources and expertise within any single institution.
Throughout 2017, you will see celebratory signs of our 35th year, kicked off this week with our IREC@35 event in Washington, DC, March 8th. It was an extraordinary evening with IREC friends, supporters and partners during which we reveled in our collective achievements, and acknowledged the legendary accomplishments of our dear friend and respected colleague, IREC President Emeritus Jane Weissman.
The strength of our foundations will be both a theme and a measure of resilience in 2017. As considerable changes permeate the federal landscape and seep into our economic, environmental, social and energy spheres, the foundations upon which historic clean energy growth has been built will be put to the test. State and local governments will remain at the epicenter of clean energy deployment and policy innovation.
While millions of Americans can more easily, safely and affordably access renewable sustainable energy today because of our collaborative successes over the last three decades, the current environment in which we operate elevates the need for IREC’s continued leadership. Our unique, critically important work must continue – in your state and mine and across the U.S. And to meet these amplified challenges head on, we need your help more than ever.
IREC is an independent, non-governmental, non-lobbying organization. That said, it would be sticking our heads in the sand if we did not acknowledge the proverbial elephant (and donkey) in the room. The environment in which we operate has now changed with a new administration coming to power in Washington, DC.
From code officials to realtors, insurers to the fire service, there are a number of industries that impact the solar transaction, and the ‘soft’ (non-hardware) costs of going solar. IREC leads national and state efforts to streamline the permitting process to help address these costs, while simultaneously recognizing that it takes a well-trained workforce to support these initiatives.
At Solar Power International last month, with more than 17,000 attendees, I wrote that IREC is proud of our broad, active involvement, and the presence we had onsite for our new consumer protection initiatives. In an interview with Solar Power World, I shared the importance of our latest work to get tools that educate and empower into the hands of energy consumers.
Solar Power International is always a great gathering of industry leaders and newcomers, improvements on trusted products alongside the latest technology, and the most current information about solar market trends and challenges. Once again, IREC is a proud SPI Partner Organization, bringing SPI attendees the expertise they have come to expect at the IREC 3iForum – Information, Innovation and Inspiration.
“We’d like solar professionals to put our consumer checklist directly into consumers’ hands, make it part of their marketing and sales efforts,” said IREC President/CEO Larry Sherwood at Solar Power International 2016. Three IREC consumer resources include the #BeSolarSmart checklist, Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights and online resources list.