Clean Power Research — a solar research, consultation, and software development firm — recently won the Innovative Solar Partner of the Year Award for its work cooperating with utilities to bring distributed solar interconnection processes online via proprietary software.
By bringing said processes online, some of the “soft costs” associated with solar energy can be notably reduced — as the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) well recognized when it awarded the Clean Power Research with the an innovative Solar Partner award.
The development of the software in question — PowerClerk Interconnect — was funded via a US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Incubator award.
To describe the software succinctly, here’s it in the company’s own words: “PowerClerk Interconnect is a scalable, software-as-a-service solution that gives utilities the flexibility to design and quickly implement online interconnection application programs without custom software development.”
In addition to those uses, the system makes it possible to log and store solar PV fleet data in a “secure, online database that is accessible for integration with customer engagement, planning and operational tools such as WattPlan and SolarAnywhere FleetView.”
When taken together, this gives utilities the ability to control every stage of energy generation — potentially allowing for greater efficiency of operation.
“Utilities have an important role to play in helping to further drive down the total installed cost of solar,” stated Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “Today only about 15% of utilities have optimized the processing of high numbers of interconnections in short periods of time, so there is opportunity to improve interconnection processes and reduce soft costs for both utilities and the solar industry. In fact, recent research conducted by SEPA shows that utilities offering an online application platform are able to process applications twice as quickly as utilities only accepting emailed, mailed or in-person applications.”
The first customer to implement the PowerClerk Interconnect system, NV Energy, had this to say (through its manager of Renewable Programs, John Hargrove): “With the growth of solar in Nevada, our volume of interconnection applications is increasing at a rapid pace. 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.”
Image Credit: Clean Power Research
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