The Solar Foundation (TSF) and Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to unite
The Solar Foundation and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today announced they have signed an agreement to merge into a single, expanded nonprofit dedicated to the rapid adoption of clean energy.
The merger will combine the strengths of two renowned national clean energy organizations, effectively doubling the staff and quadrupling the impact. The Solar Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to accelerating adoption of solar energy and related technologies and, since its relaunch in 2010, has had a ten-year track record of leading research, education, and capacity building programs. IREC has been a trusted independent clean energy proponent for nearly 40 years, building a foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy by tackling regulatory, workforce, and economic barriers.
The combined organization will support the accelerated growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency and a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient, and equitable.
Over the coming months, the two organizations will work together to integrate their programs, with the merger anticipated to be completed in mid-2021. Once the merger is finalized, all of The Solar Foundation’s programs will be combined at IREC.
Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation has volunteered to step down from her role in January 2020. She will still consult with the combined organizations.
Larry Sherwood, President and Chief Operating Officer of IREC, will remain in his position and lead the merged organization. Prior to the merger, he will work with The Solar Foundation’s board to lead the organization as its new Administrator, effective on November 16.
“I couldn’t be happier to announce this timely and transformational strategic shift,” said Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “I am extraordinarily proud of my achievements building The Solar Foundation from scratch, and creating, growing, and sustaining some of the solar industry’s most valuable and cutting-edge programs. For over ten years, I gave it my all, but as my Board and I steered our technology focus beyond solar, it became clear we needed to pursue a strategic partnership that would allow us to have even more impact in the decade to come. After much searching, I am pleased to have found the perfect partner in IREC!”
“We are thrilled to join forces with The Solar Foundation and welcome a new chapter in our organization’s history — one that enables dramatically increased impact at a time when progress on clean energy has never been more important,” said Sherwood.
IREC and The Solar Foundation both lead robust workforce development programs with an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and equity in the clean energy fields. Both are deeply engaged with state and local governments to help streamline codes and permitting requirements and remove barriers to clean energy development.
The combined organization’s scope will include all renewable energy technologies (distributed and utility-scale) as well as energy efficiency. It will drive change via three strategic pathways: regulatory engagement, workforce development, and local initiatives (including permitting, code, and inspection issues). All programs of both organizations will continue operating, including The Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census, U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, SolSmart, Solar Ready Vets, and the Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, as well as IREC’s ongoing state regulatory engagement and its role as the sole accrediting body for clean energy training in the United States.
“With the climate crisis on our doorstep, now is the time to be practical and forge smart, strategic partnerships to reduce inefficiencies and multiply our impact,” said Mary Powell, Chair of the Board at The Solar Foundation. “This merger will broaden the scope of both organizations, while reducing administrative burdens and opening up opportunities for new initiatives. Together, The Solar Foundation and IREC far exceed the sum of their parts, and I will be so excited to see what the combined organization can accomplish in the crucial decade ahead!”
“Over the past decade, The Solar Foundation has helped drive the solar industry’s exponential growth through its acclaimed jobs research, capacity building, and workforce development initiatives,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “IREC has also proven to be a leading champion of the growth we have seen in clean, renewable energy. I am thrilled to support the unified organization, which will be in a position to accomplish even more in this crucial decade ahead.”
The merged organization will maintain offices in Washington, D.C. and Albany, New York, with many employees working on a remote basis.