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 don’t want fire fighters’ first introduction to solar PV to be in an emergency situation,” says Laure-Jeanne Davignon, IREC’s director of workforce and credentialing. IREC’s new, cutting edge, online training course for fire fighters is a self-paced, video-based training that offers real-world simulations to keep fire fighters safe and confident around solar PV systems. Some 475 users have begun the training since its June launch.
With the solar industry adding jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy, just about the only certainty is change. IREC’s Solar Career Map features a dynamic, interactive interface – a 21st century tool that charts a course for promotion or advancement through growing opportunities in the modern solar industry.
Last week, I had the privilege of moderating a panel at the White House as part of a day-long National Community Solar Summit. The Summit – hosted and coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with the White House – drew more than 100 stakeholders, representing utilities, non-profits, the solar industry, state agencies, local and regional advocates, federal agencies, legislators, regulators, financial institutions and consultants.
What a difference five years makes. Since 2010, the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) has become the benchmark for building a highly qualified, well-trained solar workforce. Thanks to the vision and support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, this cohesive network of nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs), IREC and DOE championed vitally relevant issues in workforce development and solar training and education.
IREC joins the new U.S. Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways project as a partner with the project’s national coordinator, The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), to provide technical assistance to the Pathways’ teams and create an expanded learning network that connects solar stakeholders across the U.S.
The solar industry has long taken a leading role in hiring veterans, employing more service members than any other sector in the U.S., according to the DOE. Building on this tradition, the DOE SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) has partnered with three military bases to create the veterans solar job training pilot project, kicked off last week at Camp Pendleton, where the four-week training continues until February 13.
ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, and the Meister Consultants Group of the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership present a free hour-long webinar 11/5 on regulatory and rate design pathways to deeper solar cost reductions on county solar fees and net metering.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs) is a collaborative national effort focused on working directly with communities to dramatically reduce the cost and expand the adoption of solar energy by 2020. IREC, along with ICLEI, Meister Consultants, The Solar Foundation, the North Carolina Solar Center and the Solar Electric Power Association, are the partners delivering a number of tailored services for local governments.
An expected 40 students and faculty from universities across the country will participate in a first annual, one day student-centered conference April 28 on developing the power engineering workforce of the future. The first annual conference is a project of the U.S. Department of Energy’s new program: Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Development (GEARED). A part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, GEARED is administered by IREC and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).