Program Processes Solar Interconnection Applications

Dec. 9, 2015
With PowerClerk, utility processing times have been reduced by as much as 63%, and median time to submit applications is 17 minutes.

PowerClerk Interconnect has processed more than 25,000 interconnection applications for five utilities including Southern California Edison (SCE) and NV Energy. In addition, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is using PowerClerk to power its Solarize Mass and Mass Solar Connect programs, which focus on providing competitive pricing for homes, businesses and non-profits. By the end of 2015, Clean Power Research expects to launch an additional five interconnection programs in PowerClerk, including two major solar municipal utilities.

With PowerClerk, interconnection administrators can rapidly design and test their own programs to meet their unique needs without requiring custom software development. For example, when implementing PowerClerk, SCE combined two interconnection application processes (for small and large system net energy metering) into a single online process. SCE interconnection applicants are dynamically guided through the process, and relevant documentation and agreements are automatically selected. The average time for program rollout on PowerClerk Interconnect has been three months, with some utilities implementing in less than a month.

“Our PowerClerk customers tell us that taking solar interconnection application processing online has enabled world-class improvements in their processes,” said Jeff Ressler, president of Software Services at Clean Power Research. “The quality of applications has dramatically improved, cycle times have been cut in half or better, and real-time information is now available to everyone across the organization, enabling levels of collaboration that weren’t possible before.”

NV Energy, the first utility to implement PowerClerk for interconnection, reduced average time to interconnection by 63%, or about three weeks. Key to faster processing times is the use of electronic signatures, which eliminates delays caused by mailing applications for wet signatures. In addition to facilitating collaboration between the interconnection team and other departments, online processing enables NV Energy to efficiently collect detailed PV project data that can be used for better grid integration of its distributed solar fleet over time.

Submitting applications through PowerClerk also reduces processing time for applicants. The median time to submit an application by applicants (typically installers) is 17 minutes, with 45% taking less than 15 minutes.

“The self-service capabilities built into PowerClerk are consistently called out as one of its most valuable features,” said Ressler. “PowerClerk allows applicants to check on the status of their submissions online anytime, and as a result, utilities receive far fewer calls requesting a status update. It’s a win-win for utilities and the solar industry.”

PowerClerk’s flexible platform supports a variety of programs, rate structures and incentives, such as community solar, feed-in-tariffs, energy efficiency and tax credits, as well as other technologies such as energy efficiency devices, building improvements and storage.

For instance, MassCEC uses PowerClerk to administer its small-scale solar adoption programs, Solarize Mass and Mass Solar Connect. These programs set up a competitive, tiered-pricing structure that increase the savings for everyone as more homes and business owners sign contracts.

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