It’s a wrap! The first IREC 3iForum, three days of insightful 30-minute sessions from solar thought leaders, was, by all accounts, a huge success. Thanks to SPI conference organizers for the venue, on the exhibition floor, in the Solar Industry Trends booth.
Here are the presentations.
Building the Market: IREC Tackling Issues You Need for Success | Jane Weissman, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) covers a lot of ground designing and advancing innovative policies and model rules and building a competent and qualified workforce that meets the demands of the solar industry. The intersection of policy and workforce spurs solutions resulting in sustained market growth. Building the Market: IREC Tackling Issues You Need for Success was the introductory kick-off in a series of IREC sessions during SPI week, a fast-paced commentary highlighting the critical factors and latest thinking on IREC’s front burner and why they are important.
Why Market-Valued IREC Credentials Matter | Patricia Fox and Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
As the industry grows, employers need to be able to hire people who have been taught the skills they need on the job. Top quality training providers distinguish themselves by achieving an IREC credential and, through this process, demonstrate that the results of their training bring value to students, employers and the market. To the hiring manager and to the worker, IREC credentials matter and can be leveraged to bolster successful hiring practices.
Future of Net Metering | Jason Keyes, IREC and Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP
A growing number of utilities are calling for reform or abolition of net metering. They call it a “free ride” to use utility wires and not pay for the service. IREC, along with other non-profits and the solar industry, know net metering can be fair and balanced. It provides benefits that outweigh utility costs in most cases, particularly by deferring new utility construction. It’s a hot button topic. A rundown of what’s happening in key states, including a deeper analysis of the issue and insight into how to achieve a fair valuation of all of net metering’s benefits, was covered by Jason to standing-room crowds.
Better Trained Workers Affect Your Bottom Line: The Solar Instructor Training Network at Work | Joe Sarubbi and Mary Lawrence, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
Investments in training and development of employees can make them more productive and more effective in their jobs, directly contributing to the bottom line. Studies have shown that a well-trained workforce leads to lower employee turnover, which is associated with higher customer satisfaction, which in turn is a driver of profitability. Learn what the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), a DOE SunShot initiative, is doing to help establish a well-trained workforce in support of the solar industry. Find-out how IREC, as National Administrator of the SITN, is providing the building blocks in support of solar training that will help companies maintain a competitive advantage.
Interconnection Issues at Higher Penetrations | Sky Stanfield/Kevin Fox, Keyes Fox & Wiedman LLP
Current interconnection processes are no longer keeping pace with the rapid expansion of renewable energy markets in key regions of the country. These inadequacies are resulting in multi-year delays before solar and other renewable energy projects are interconnected, which is significantly slowing solar market expansion. IREC has participated in the development and updating of interconnection procedures in over two dozen states and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Sky discussed the latest approaches that are being deployed in interconnection processes to keep pace with solar market growth.
Improving Interconnection: Integrated Distribution Planning | Sky Stanfield, Keyes Fox & Wiedman LLP
In areas with robust distributed generation (DG) growth, applications to interconnect new solar systems have overwhelmed utility interconnection processes and caused project delays and, in some cases, prohibitive cost increases. To better facilitate interconnection of high penetrations of DG, some utilities are beginning to consider approaches to proactively study distribution circuits in an effort to determine their hosting capacities in advance. Sky discussed a concept paper IREC released this year that discusses proactive planning efforts that are being contemplated or implemented by utilities across the United States.
IREC’s Annual Solar Market Trends Report | Larry Sherwood, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
The solar market, although relatively young, is an increasingly important and vital part of the American economy. What are the trends in this market, and what forces are at work? Which sectors of the market are strongest, and why? What are the prospects for solar energy in the near future? This session presented the results from the recently published IREC Report, U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012.
Shared Solar: Growing the Market | Erica Schroeder McConnell, IREC and Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP
Not all energy consumers can participate in net metering and other on-site generation programs. According to a government study, only about 25 percent of residential rooftops are capable of hosting solar generation systems. Shared renewable energy programs, including shared solar, are one option for meeting the needs of the rest of the market. Erica Schroeder McConnell discussed the latest insights into best practices in shared renewable energy, based on IREC’s work developing shared solar programs in Delaware, Colorado and California.