IREC papers and reports offer independent, thought-leading expertise and insight, including publications in which IREC has collaborated with others. They are divided here into four categories:

Regulatory Reform

–>NEW! Access for All: Pathways to Expand Solar Options to Renters and Multifamily Households in the City of Seattle

This guide and surrounding work is connected to a related effort in California to increase uptake of solar on multifamily housing using the existing Virtual Net Metering Tariff, which has been available for years in the country’s leading solar market but has been vastly underutilized.

Charging Ahead: An Energy Storage Guide for Policymakers

This guide provides regulators and other decision makers with specific guidance on key issues for policy consideration, including foundational policies for advanced energy storage—a new generation of technologies characterized by flexible operating capabilities and diverse applications.

Guiding Principles for Shared Renewable Energy Programs

A timely update to the guiding principles that appeared in IREC’s original model rules first published in 2009 and updated in 2013. The 2017 modifications are intended to reflect evolutions in the market, inform program and policy design efforts and affirm the benefits of shared renewable energy programs to participants, the renewable energy industry, utilities and all energy consumers.

12,000 MW of Renewable Distributed Generation by 2020

A background on DG and why the size, location and technology of DG resources matter in determining the benefits DG is able to provide. The report also provides an analysis of the cost effectiveness of DG resources and, perhaps most importantly, recommends ways to maximize the benefits that DG can provide to the grid.

A Regulator’s Guidebook: Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation

This report offers lessons learned from 16 regional and utility-specific Distributed Solar Generation (DSG) studies summarized in a recent review by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and then proposes a standardized valuation methodology for public utility commissions to consider implementing in future studies.

Blueprint for the Development of Distributed Generation in California

An overview of policies that will allow California to continue to support distributed generation (DG) while driving projects into the highest-value locations in a manner that enables the state to get the most out of its investment.

Community-Shared Solar: Diverse Approaches for a Common Goal

Three case studies offer a glimpse at three different utilities’ approaches to offering community solar to their customers.

Connecting to the Grid Guide 6th Edition

An introduction to the issues surrounding policy and technical considerations of grid-integrated, renewable energy development.

Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near-Term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits

Since the market for distributed energy storage is still in its infancy, there is a significant need for regulatory guidance and proactive policies to ensure a smooth integration into the existing electrical system. In this report, IREC offers independent insight on how to address these new challenges — and opportunities — in the regulatory arena.

Easing the Transition to a More Distributed Electricity System

This landmark IREC report offers a unique look at the national movement toward a more modern electricity grid, and offers five insightful approaches for state utility regulators to consider as they facilitate the transition through rules and regulations that govern the electricity system and electric utilities.

Integrated Distribution Planning Concept Paper

A concept paper from IREC and Sandia National Laboratories proposing an Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP) approach to proactive planning for DG growth.

Model Net Metering Rules

Many states have either adopted net metering policies that capture some of the best practices identified in these IREC model rules or adopted rules that advance the policies contained in IREC’s model. First published in 2003 and updated in 2009.

Model Interconnection Procedures

First developed in 2005 and updated in 2009, the 2013 edition of IREC’s Model Interconnection Procedures synthesizes a number of best practices in the evolution of safe and reliable connecting of renewable energy systems to the utility grid.

Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs

Revised in collaboration with The Vote Solar Initiative, these model rules were updated in 2013 to assist stakeholders in developing shared renewables programs that broaden renewable energy access to more consumers.

The Intersection of Net Metering & Retail Choice: An Overview of Policy, Practice & Issues

This report provides clarification on how net metering works in complex competitive markets.

Priority Considerations for Interconnection Standards

As a supplement to IREC’s Interconnection Model Rules, this report offers key considerations for states working to improve/update interconnection procedures.

The Valuation of Solar + Storage in Hawaii: A Methodology

Proposes a method to quantify the added economic benefits that could result from adding behind-the-meter storage to supplement solar energy generation in Hawaii. The method provides a useful framework and information tool that can be used to conduct a more comprehensive valuation analysis in Hawaii and other states.

Virtual Net Metering Policy Background and Tariff Summary Report

In partnership with CalSEIA and the Center for Sustainable Energy, IREC co-authored the Virtual Net Metering Policy Background and Tariff Summary report, which provides a comprehensive overview of California’s multi-tenant policies and an explanation of similar shared solar programs throughout the country.

Shared Renewable Energy for Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions

The first-of-its kind, these policy guidelines and model provisions provide information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy developers, program administrators and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to LMI customers.

Solar Power Purchase Agreements: A Toolkit for Local Governments

In an effort to reduce solar soft costs and assist local governments and other public entities seeking to install and finance rooftop solar systems, IREC developed a comprehensive toolkit on retail solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), sometimes referred to as solar service agreements. An Executive Summary is also available.

Unlocking DG Value: a PURPA-Based Approach to Promoting DG Growth

In this paper, the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach to Distributed Generation (DG) are discussed. It concludes with several considerations to address before PURPA could become a viable option for promoting DG growth in many states. Several recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decisions have provided the needed justification to value the benefits of DG facilities.

Market Trends & Analysis

IREC Impact@35

Released on March 8 in Washington DC, the report lists and supports with detail eight key results of IREC’s thought-leading independent work over the past 35 years, including highlights of landmark publications and resources, and a complementary timeline.

Timeline of IREC’s 35 Years

Complementary to the IREC Impact@35 report

IREC’s Annual Updates & Trends Report 2015

This annual report provides information and independent, thought-leading insight from IREC’s national experts on the year’s renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges in trend-leading states and across the U.S. Released at Solar Power International in Anaheim September 2015.

U.S. Solar Market Trends 2014

An annual in-depth review of solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and concentrated solar activities and progress in the U.S. Authored by IREC Vice President/COO Larry Sherwood.

Workforce Education

Micro-Credentialing Case Study

This case study reports on the micro-credential framework being developed and the first micro-credential pilot, still underway. The pilot is designed to bring a new credentialing option to certified energy auditors in the U.S. who want to expand their home health assessment expertise and offer more comprehensive services in the residential sector. March 2016

Good Teaching Matters: Five Teaching Practices to Improve the Quality of a Training Course

Barbara Martin Ph.D’s comprehensive work on important teaching practices that can improve the quality of a training course.

Solar Energy Education and Training Best Practices: The Series

A compendium of national best practices for instructors in solar training, education and workforce development.


A Guide to Preparing Solar Permitting Checklists

A simple, two-page handout to introduce permitting checklists to municipal permitting staff, and tips on drafting effective versions for communities.

Field Inspection Guidelines for PV Systems

Details of the most important aspects of a field inspection which can be performed in as little as 15 minutes, complete with illustrative pictures on the specific details of each step.

Minimizing Overlap in PV System Approval Processes: Case Studies and Analysis

Detailed steps for obtaining each necessary approval for residential rooftop PV projects in four different markets in the United States to better understand the relationship between the different approval processes and the challenges in each.

Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV Systems

Designed to benefit permitting authorities and installers, and ultimately energy consumers who invest in solar.

Residential Solar Permitting Best Practices Explained

A review of current residential solar permitting best practices, along with relevant resources to help communities implement them.

Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting

The definitive report outlining innovative strategies being implemented across the U.S. to increase the efficiency of permitting procedures for rooftop solar systems. A short, two-page summary to complement the full Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar PV Permitting report is also available.

Simplifying the Solar Permitting Process: The Importance of Consistency

From IREC and The Vote Solar Initiative, nine best practices in residential solar permitting which can offer significant efficiency benefits for both AHJs and the solar industry.

Solar Permitting Best Practices

Working together, IREC and The Vote Solar Initiative have developed a set of best practices for the solar permitting process that identify nine benchmarks for an efficient solar permitting process.


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