We’ve heard a lot about smart grid over the past decade, but to achieve a truly intelligent grid we need to do much more than switch out analog meters for their digital counterparts. We must also implement comprehensive new regulatory structures to make use of the data and functionality provided by these equipment upgrades. In other words, we need to modernize the grid in addition to our modes of interacting with it.
Oh no, another roadmap! Sometimes dubbed business or strategic plans, they come with different personalities and effectiveness. Many end up sitting on the proverbial “shelf,” but I’m writing about one that won’t collect dust.
At IREC, we are unwavering in our commitment to ensuring the value of our credentialing marks and the rigor associated with our credentials. It’s our job to make sure you – the training community, students, funders and other stakeholders – can depend on it. We understand that the strength of that value comes from your confidence that an IREC credential distinguishes a training program or instructor that has met the highest industry-driven standards for quality and safety – a program that holds up to the ethical obligations established by the IREC Credentialing Program policies and procedures.
So we wanted to let you know that we are here to protect these hard-earned credentials, and we take this very seriously.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) believes that in some areas of the country, as little as 25 percent of homes may be suitable for a PV system, due to physical limitations of rooftops, poor building orientation, and/or inadequate solar resources. Other hurdles that stand between residents and solar can include building ownership, easements and building restrictions, upfront costs of system ownership, and difficulties in obtaining financing. Considering these limitations, how can residential solar maintain head-turning levels of growth, and how can more residential consumers join in?
It was a year ago that we wrote in this column about the stifling effect of operating in silos. Our particular focus was (and still is) on the unfortunate split between the renewable energy and energy efficiency options which crops up in all sorts of ways – as separate organizations, government project and policy programs, conferences and consumer marketing campaigns. We thought that now would be a good time to take a look at how IREC is doing in closing the divide between renewable energy and energy efficiency.
There can’t be a much stronger seal of approval to a program’s success than to hear support for its growth straight from the president. Listening to a live feed of President Obama’s comments a few weeks ago on new clean energy initiatives, it was a proud moment for the SITN to hear of his support for additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.
The need to have a strong connection between business and education is everywhere. The success of building a workforce for clean energy and other sustainable technologies depends on it. Recently, I’ve been learning about the growing field of education and training for water management and technologies.
True or false: Transmission and transmission planning are only relevant to large, conventional electricity generators, and distributed renewables are only concerned with the distribution system, and never the twain shall meet. For many decades, this statement was profoundly true. But nowadays, with evolving technologies, improved planning processes and an expanded emphasis on integrated systems, the two previously disparate elements of our energy system are beginning to intersect.
Thank You Mr. President: More Support for Training Programs at Community Colleges Will Ready More Workers for Solar Jobs
May 9 was a momentous day for solar energy with one giant announcement kicking off a new set of promising and proven actions. President Obama publicized more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. Some of these headline initiatives included innovative financing for deploying solar, two billion dollars in energy efficiency investments for federal buildings, improving appliance efficiency, strengthening building codes and, drumroll please, additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.
In true marathon spirit, IREC has had its running shoes on this spring, hitting conferences and meetings on all sides of the country. These events have been most fruitful and rewarding – well worth the long TSA lines and full planes. Having face-to-face time with many colleagues has given us new insights to make our work more meaningful.