National 3iAward Winners and Energy Heroes Honored by IREC at Solar Power International


September 24 (Salt Lake City, UT) - During an awards ceremony at Solar Power International, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today honored its 2019 3iAward recipients, celebrating the nation's best innovation, ingenuity and inspiration in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The winners are based on a prestigious annual national search.


Two special IREC Energy Heroes were also honored.


"Our 3iAward winners and IREC Energy Heroes represent the nation's most extraordinary people, projects and programs, creating replicable solutions to today's complex renewable energy and energy efficiency challenges," said IREC Board Chairman Larry Shirley. "Our honorees exemplify the higher goals we need to achieve to make a clean energy future possible, and they are changing our national energy landscape in the process."


"Their work is creating new opportunities and setting new standards in states and communities across the U.S.," added Ken Jurman, IREC board member and chair of the 3iAwards Committee.


"As we honor our awardees' meritorious achievements, IREC celebrates its 37th year," said IREC President/CEO Larry Sherwood. "We are more proud than ever of our own history, leading transformative policies and practices that allow millions more Americans to benefit from clean renewable energy."


3iAward Winners in four categories 


State/Local Government Achievements of the Year

SolSmart/The Solar Foundation

SolSmart is a national designation program recognizing communities that make it faster, easier and more affordable to go solar. Led by The Solar Foundation (along with the International City/County Management Association), SolSmart was created in 2016 and now boasts more than 275 cities, counties and towns that have achieved the SolSmart designation. The program comes at a time when local communities are taking action to reduce barriers to clean energy, yet they require assistance identifying industry best practices and evolving local regulations to keep growth on the upsurge. 


Metropolitan Mayors Caucus/Greenest Region Compact

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a SolSmart advisor, is a collaborative membership organization of the Chicago region's 275 cities, towns and villages. One of the Caucus's initiatives, the Greenest Region Compact (GRC), created consensus goals adopted by 119 communities and three counties, supporting mayors in their role as environmental leaders. The Caucus led 35 local governments to earn the SolSmart designation, more than any other state. It also created a collaborative purchasing pool to subscribe hundreds of public facilities to community solar. More than 70 municipalities are participating in this Community Solar Clearinghouse Solutions, which bolsters Illinois' first community solar projects and addresses state and local clean energy objectives. 


Community/Shared Renewables Project of the Year

Fellowship Energy

Most of the half-million faith-based properties in the United States are widely excluded from the renewable energy revolution, as traditional financing methods are not suitable to provide clean energy technologies to these entities. Fellowship Energy created an innovative financing solution so these properties could go solar without upfront costs. The financing model brings best practices and credit enhancement tools from other economic sectors to religious organizations and other non-profits. It enables them to reduce expenditures on utility bills so they can dedicate more funds to their higher mission. 


The pilot program was with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church Building Fund (ECBF), resulting in the 2018 installation of a 50kW array on St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, and another 250kW array at Trinity Episcopal School, both in Richmond. Each has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with an individual investor able to monetize the investment tax credit; each PPA has a financial guaranty from the ECBF, backed by the Diocese. 


State Policy Champion of the Year

Environment California & CA Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León

In 2017, Dan Jacobson, state director for Environment California, and California State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, created a plan for a lasting renewable energy legacy for the state. Two years later, that plan emerged as SB 100, the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, putting California on its path to generate 100% of its electricity from clean sources by 2045 and 60% from renewables by 2030. After the passage of SB 100, New Mexico and Washington State followed suit, passing similar bills into law.


California has the most ambitious climate targets in the world and the most aggressive renewable energy targets of any economy of its size. Already it is the #1 state in the country for solar power generation, and #4 for wind generation. Dan and partners at Environment America are working to win 100% clean energy bills in nine more states. 


IREC Accredited Training Provider of the Year

Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development

The Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development operates the Ohio Weatherization Training Center (OWTC) in Athens, which provides affordable, effective training that enables weatherization agencies to offer quality weatherization services to low-income Ohio residents.


More than 14,000 students have attended OWTC custom training courses on state-of-the art building diagnostic, weatherization and heating systems. The training center is also a testing facility for the Building Performance Institute. In the past year, 187 classes were provided and 1,429 students and professionals in the Ohio Home Weatherization Assistance Program Network benefitted. Included are private contractors, utilities, community colleges, staff from affordable housing, environmental and energy conservation non-profits, and other contracted training organizations.


IREC 2019 Energy Heroes

Home Builders Institute/Job Corps

A lack of skilled, qualified solar workers is especially acute in clean energy, where even entry-level jobs require considerable technical skills and knowledge. At the same time, at-risk youth - Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working - are estimated to number above four million.


The potential for green jobs to pave a pathway out of poverty for at-risk youth has long been recognized, but a mismatch between training and jobs has many times led to frustratingly low employment outcomes.


Through an innovative partnership, HBI and IREC developed a solar-specific, employer-recognized certification focused on residential rooftop PV safety and weather proofed installation of structural components. Now a national model designed to bridge the gap between at-risk youth and solar jobs, the solar training-to-jobs pipeline is based on hands-on, experiential training and valid credentials, both aligned with solar sector employer needs.


HBI has partnered with Job Corps for more than 40 years to prepare and place young people in building industry careers - committed to changing lives for the diverse populations it serves. Job Corps, the nation's largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, combines classroom, practical and work-based learning experiences to prepare students for stable, long-term, high-paying jobs. 


Haven Coleman, Youth Climate Activist

Just back from the United Nations Youth Climate Summit in NYC, 13 year-old Haven Coleman is one of a growing number of young women leading the worldwide youth climate movement. Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the youth climate movement in Europe and Australia, Haven was a co-founder and co -executive director of US Youth Climate Strike, the U.S. version of the European youth climate action movement. 


Haven is fearless when talking to U.S. legislators at town halls or to commissioners at utility boards. Her work caught the attention of Al Gore, who invited her to be part of his "24 Hours of Reality" project, a day of television programming centered on climate change. 


"I want adults to start acting to the extent we need them to and I want them to enact the political changes needed for the system changes that are needed," she says. "Basically, I just want them to fight climate change and stop the worst effects of it so I can go back to being a kid, like now." 

About IREC

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council builds the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency, toward a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient and equitable. IREC is an independent not-for-profit organization leading transformational work since 1982. IREC: Independent leadership. Trusted clean energy expertise.

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