As I left Solar Power International at the end of last week, I thought about how far the solar industry has come since I first began to work with IREC more than 10 years ago. With a busy expo floor of 600+ exhibitors and more than 17,000 attendees, IREC is proud of our active involvement.
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.
The comprehensive Rule 21 Order adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides numerous innovations to mitigate costs associated with connecting clean energy to the grid, facilitates a clear process for interconnecting energy storage systems, and enables implementation of smart inverter functionality.
After 22 years as the head of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, I am stepping down as the organization’s president and CEO. It’s a bittersweet decision. This is not a retirement announcement; just a change I make with confidence and emotion.
IREC is involved in over a dozen simultaneous regulatory proceedings across the country at any given moment. Yet, rare it is when three state regulatory milestones occur within the same week. In an unexpected occurrence of regulatory synchronicity, the commissions of California, South Carolina and Maryland all hit the streets in the same week with some pretty big (and long-awaited) steps forward for consumer oriented clean energy. What’s more, IREC was thrilled to see clearly reflected in all of them the adoption of several IREC recommendations, all of which make it easier and more affordable for more consumers to access and benefit from clean energy.
As I write, there are many encouraging trends that point to continued growth and opportunity for the solar industry. The extension of the Investment Tax Credit, the historic Paris Agreement and the consistently impressive numbers from The Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census, all indicate that the force is very much with the solar industry. The growing excitement about a solar future is reflected in questions we’ve received from attendees on recent webinars IREC’s hosted about the Solar Career Map.
We know that commercial and utility-scale solar installations are ringing up impressive numbers of megawatts. These vast solar power plants are bringing significant clean energy into the grid. But, it’s the door-to-door systems that are taking solar local, as rooftop residential systems are reaching new highs, adding more solar customers and constituents to the rolls.