By Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation
A pioneer in the renewable energy arena, Jane Weissman has played an indispensable role in professionalizing the solar workforce. Jane became the head of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in 1994 and served in that position for 22 years. She was among the first to aggressively, continuously and persistently stress the importance of quality training and standards in solar.
Jane understands that whether it’s a residential installation or a complex utility-scale project, the customer needs to know installers will adhere to safety standards, provide excellent customer service and never compromise quality. That’s how we can make the growth in the solar workforce sustainable and maintain public confidence in the industry. As the number of solar jobs keeps expanding every year, it is crucial that the industry maintains its reputation for quality and high standards. A commitment to quality is also the way to keep attracting job seekers who are proud to establish careers in solar.
Jane stepped down from IREC this summer and now plans to make a transition into a consulting and political role. Under Jane’s leadership, IREC has done groundbreaking work on standards development and workforce education. The group has also done valuable research that is shaping our conversations around hot-button issues like community solar and net metering. And on a personal note, I have come to know Jane as a truly effective leader who always recognizes the contributions of others. With solar technologies growing ever more widespread, I know she will continue making an impact.