The merger will combine the strengths of two national clean energy organizations, effectively doubling the staff. The Solar Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the adoption of solar energy and related technologies and, since its relaunch in 2010, has had a 10-year track record of leading research, education and capacity building programs. IREC has been trusted for its independent clean energy expertise for nearly 40 years, playing a critical role in building the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy by tackling regulatory, workforce and economic barriers.
In addition to increased impact, longstanding mutual respect between IREC and The Solar Foundation and natural synergy between the organizations’ programs were key considerations in the decision to merge. 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. To facilitate the merger discussions, Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation, voluntarily made a commitment in January to step down from her role following a successful merger agreement. Larry Sherwood, president and COO of IREC, will remain in his position and lead the merged organization.
“I couldn’t be happier to announce this timely and transformational strategic shift,” says Luecke. “For over 10 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.”
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. The merged organization will maintain offices in Washington, D.C., and Albany, N.Y., with many employees working on a remote basis.
Photo: The Solar Foundation’s landing page