New Software Reduces Solar Soft Costs

Clean Power Research ( today launched PowerClerk Interconnect, software that helps reduce solar soft costs by taking formerly paper-intensive interconnection application processes online. Funded by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Incubator award, PowerClerk Interconnect gives utilities new levels of control over their interconnection workflows, and streamlines the application process for utilities, solar customers and installers.

PC-Interconnect-Form-Editor-100114“With the growth of solar in Nevada, our volume of interconnection applications is increasing at a rapid pace,” said John Hargrove, manager of Renewable Programs at NV Energy, the first company to use PowerClerk Interconnect. “Since we began using PowerClerk, we’re finding our processes to be much more efficient, and we’re providing better customer service even with higher volumes. It’s also helping us phase out legacy internal systems, while integrating with contemporary internal systems for tasks such as billing and metering.”

“PowerClerk Interconnect builds on the success of PowerClerk Incentives, which has been used to efficiently process incentive applications for more than 6 GW of distributed solar since 2006,” said Jeff Ressler, president of Software Services at Clean Power Research. “This latest PowerClerk platform preserves the most-loved features of PowerClerk, while giving program administrators powerful new tools to define and modify application workflows, in real-time, right from their desk, as program requirements change. PowerClerk has a history of reducing incentive administration costs for utilities by up to 65%, and we expect similar cost savings for solar interconnection.”

Clean Power Research will be demonstrating PowerClerk at Solar Power International 2014, booth #118.

Soft Cost Reduction for Utilities and the Solar Industry

According to the Solar Electric Power Association research report “Distributed Solar Interconnection Challenges and Best Practices,” utilities that use an online interconnection platform are able to process applications twice as quickly as the approximately 85% of utilities that only accept emailed, mailed or in-person applications. PowerClerk is a scalable business process management platform that will enable utilities of all types to quickly and cost-effectively take their interconnection processes online with no internal development.

PowerClerk helps reduce soft costs for both utilities and installers through streamlined processes, better communication and shorter time to interconnection. With PowerClerk Interconnect, utility program administrators are able to:

  • Take control of interconnection processes—Workflows and forms can be defined and quickly updated to meet changes in program requirements without requiring IT involvement.
  • Handle higher volumes of applications—Error-free forms, auto-document generation, electronic signatures and electronic document storage streamline formerly paper-intensive processes, reducing the time it takes to process applications.
  • Improve customer service—Application status visibility and built-in automatic email features keep customers informed through each stage of the interconnection process, reducing the number of customer calls.
  • Unlock the value of distributed solar data—Interconnected solar fleet data is stored in secure databases, making it programmatically accessible for reporting and integration with customer engagement, planning and operational tools such as WattPlan and SolarAnywhere FleetView.

Benefits of online interconnection processing to solar installers include:

  • Simplified application processes—The entire application process is handled online, from filling out simple-to-use online forms and submitting signatures electronically, to checking on the status of an application.
  • Error-free applications—Information is entered once and auto-filled into documents, reducing data entry errors or use of outdated forms.
  • Shorter time to interconnection—Faster application approvals free up capital for the next project.
  • Quoting and CRM software integration—Using the PowerClerk application programming interface (API), installers can automate application submittal directly from their quoting, customer relationship management (CRM) or sales automation software.

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