Up Front: The IREC Blog

Another proud moment for solar and the SITN

President Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom will be veterans. This new goal builds on the tremendous progress of the DOE SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which includes nearly 500 partnering educational institutions across the country. To date, more than 1,000 solar instructors have trained through the SITN and an estimated 30,000 students have received some amount of training from them.

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The Third Decade

The obvious isn’t always obvious but when it is, it makes quite a difference. Some game changing models over the past three decades have given us strong footing as we move into a new era on how electricity is generated, where it’s generated and how it’s stored. Here’s a quick look back to bring us to now.

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From Startup to Success: The Solar Instructor Training Network Five Years On  

Building a national, highly-qualified, well-trained clean energy workforce takes time. And work. And vision. Now, after five years, we’re seeing stunning results from the confluence of the work of innovative instructors, supportive administrators at educational institutions, and long-term vision from DOE’s SunShot Initiative.

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Building on a strong foundation, the critical need for updated interconnection policies

Say you’re thinking about adding another story onto an old house. You probably wouldn’t want to start building without first having a structural engineer make some calculations to ensure the house could support the addition. Now keep that image in mind as you consider interconnection policy as one of the main load-bearing walls in our solar market “house.” If not properly designed to match the growing market conditions, state interconnection policies may cause the house to come crashing down…or at least cause some major cracks to form.

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Technology Advancements Alone Won’t Bring Energy Storage to Market – Regulatory Reform is Equally Important

It is widely recognized that distributed energy storage can offer a host of benefits to utilities, storage customers and ratepayers. It is particularly true that energy storage has enormous potential to ease the integration of high levels of renewable energy onto the electric grid. However, as it stands today, the regulatory and market policies in the electricity sector are not yet positioned to enable energy storage developers and customers to deploy the technology in a manner that ensures access to the full range of benefits it can offer.

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Don’t Wait for Them to Ask if You Hold the IREC Credential

Energized by the White House’s recent announcement of the America’s College Promise Proposal, over 600 community college presidents, administrators, instructors and partners assembled in Newport Beach, CA for the American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Development Institute at the end of January. IREC’s Credentialing Program was on hand and met over three days with numerous potential applicants for the IREC credential and workforce development partners at the IREC booth.

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Easing the Transition

What a week for energy news! And right in the middle of it all is what we believe to be a landmark paper. In the event you didn’t find time to take a look at it, here are the highlights.

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Balancing Consumer Protection & Industry Regulation: Five Trends in PV Codes and Standards  

Codes and standards don’t sound particularly sexy. But they are important consumer protections both for safety and quality of solar PV installations. There are literally hundreds of PV related codes and standards developed by many different code and standard development organizations. The challenge is to balance consumer protection with an appropriate level of industry regulation.

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Buyer be Aware: IREC Credentialed Training Providers Offer Better Value to Graduates

According to the College Board’s report, Trends in College Pricing, average published tuition and fee prices increased up to 3.7 percent in 2014, depending on sector. This increase is higher than the 2.0 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index during the same time period, and while lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, continues a concerning trend that has been highlighted in the educational and other media for years now.

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Take a Look at the New 2015 Models

I still find pulling out a yellow legal pad along with a few sharp pencils productive as a way of jotting down notes, ideas and doodles. Tis the season to do so as we start at the top of a new year. My top yellow pad one liner – it looks like 2015 will be the time for new models – refers to new policy, technical and operational ones. Things could be shaken up or at least stirred. Let me bring you into a conversation the IREC team had just a few weeks ago.

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