SPI 15 - Annual Trends Report Released by IREC

Success and Challenges in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

(Anaheim, CA) September 15, 2015 - Today's release of the Annual Trends Report by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) presents a deep look at the stories behind the year's national clean energy headlines. It offers an informative, independent perspective on the year's renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges across the U.S., and the activities, research, publications, expert insight and recommendations that are helping shape our clean energy future.

"Through our successes and continued challenges, we see in this report the breadth of IREC's work - and the clarity that safe and affordable access to clean energy is what drives us - as it has for more than three decades," says IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman. "While we work closely with the clean energy industries and multiple organizations, the one group that commands our broadest attention is the consumer."

With IREC's regulatory experts deeply engaged nationally and in more than 40 states, the stories in the report offer insight into what's playing out in the federal and state regulatory arenas, and how these issues and rules affect consumers, industry and other stakeholders, including low-income populations and disadvantaged communities.

In the critically important area of clean energy workforce development, IREC continues to lead the nation through the growing need for quality, job-ready workers to meet the demands of the changing energy landscape. From the development and sharing of best practice models and resources, and a unique credentialing program for instructors and training programs, come real life results and transformative stories, including from military veterans.

IREC's nationally respected regulatory and workforce development experts present independent insight on the current and emerging issues that face stakeholders throughout the renewable energy and energy efficiency marketplace.

In addition to delving into the latest trends, and the next challenges and solutions, the report also shares highlights from the many IREC publications that guide and shape today's and tomorrow's regulatory and workforce development policies.

Report Highlights:

* A look at the best practices that are growing smart shared renewable energy programs, interconnection policies and quality workforce development, to meet industry needs and ensure consumer confidence.

* Finding their way into state procedures are the 2013 federal precedents set regarding small generator interconnection procedures. How these and other actions, and IREC's outreach work in clean energy progressive and transitioning states, are shaping state and community conversations across the U.S.

* What's happening in key states regarding solar+storage technology, interconnection, cost/benefit analysis of distributed solar generation, shared community solar and modernization of the electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy.

* Why more solar companies are working with IREC to find qualified workers. Hint: we're helping colleges align training with real jobs and credentialing instructors and training programs that meet high standards created with industry input.

* On the drawing board: helping train emergency responders and others in allied industries to work safely around solar installations.

* What's in the works to help meet President Obama's goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020. The "stackable skills" approach, and projects and resources to prepare quality-trained clean energy workers, including many military veterans.

* Helping our military veterans prepare for careers in the solar industry as they transition to civilian life, IREC works with the U.S. Department of Energy Reach for the Sun solar PV veteran job training program. What and where are the jobs? An enhanced and updated interactive online solar career map helps answer questions asked by educators, students and professionals about what skills are needed and where the on-ramps are to solar employment.

* Ensuring quality training of the next generation of energy engineers, system operators and utility professionals is key to lowering the cost of solar electricity and advancing seamless grid integration. How we're making headway through the GEARED program (Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment).

* "Micro-credentials" - an innovative concept IREC is defining and piloting for workforce development, working with allied industries with some clean energy competencies required in existing occupations, and also to create a credentialing mechanism to respond quickly to changing workforce needs in the evolving clean energy market.

* We're piloting the creation of a dynamic digital credentialing system to represent workforce credentials. The goal is to leverage technology to make the value and meaning of workforce credentials transparent and accessible to stakeholders.

IREC's 2015 Annual Trends Report was released at Solar Power International this week in Anaheim. The full report is available online at www.irecusa.org and in print by request.

About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a not-for-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for renewable energy and energy efficiency training providers and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. Visit www.irecusa.org.

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