Buy or build? NREL examines the pros and cons for DER application processing systems

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released their independent study on “Improving Interconnection Processes with Online Application Processing Systems” for distributed energy resources (DERs). As DERs become even more prevalent, the toll on internal utility resources to manage the application process is driving more and more utilities to automate…

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Transitioning from NEM to successor tariffs can be a breeze for utilities

As net energy metering (NEM) evolves across the U.S., utilities are facing the challenge of meeting new successor tariff requirements related to application data collection, communication, performance, online payments and more. That transition can be tricky, particularly if the utility needs to keep current applicants informed about pending changes. These changes…

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Attention DER/PV interconnection teams: Your system planners are relying on you!

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Recently I spoke with two very large investor owned utilities (IOUs) that are trying to backfill information for thousands and in some cases tens-of-thousands of PV systems located in their service territories. In other words, these system planners do not have equipment specifications for distributed energy resources (DERs) on their…

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How Duke Energy sped up payment processing by 90% with ePayments

In late 2016, Clean Power Research announced a new integration between PowerClerk® and Stripe for ePayment processing. Stripe allows applicants to pay fees such as application fees via an online system integrated with PowerClerk’s workflow, rather than physically mailing checks or other forms of out-of-band payment. Clean Power Research selected Stripe…

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Three reasons not to build your own software

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We often talk with utility customers who are considering the classic build versus buy decision for software. Should they use their own utility IT staff, or a subcontractor, to build and maintain custom software? Or should they partner with a vendor with a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software application that can be…

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Adapting utility processes to the reality of distributed PV

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Utility processes and systems impacted by distributed PV In previous blog posts, we’ve looked at how the growth of distributed PV can impact grid operation at the system level. These blogs addressed how distributed PV can lead to the often referenced “duck curve,” and how SolarAnywhere® FleetView® software can be used…

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PowerClerk: Your 24/7 assistant, not just a front end tool

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PowerClerk® as a system In the world of software , the term “front end” refers to elements that users interact with, the user interface (UI). A front end, in turn, may enable access to “back end” databases, other software, etc. Over the years, we’ve often heard PowerClerk, our industry-leading program…

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Are utilities prepared to handle DER administration through their 20-year lifecycle?

Today, utilities are facing pressure from customers and regulatory agencies to approve DER (distributed energy resource) applications for interconnection quickly. However, utilities will need to track and manage interconnected DERs through their lifecycle, which can be 20 years or more. Smart utilities are thinking ahead about how they will maintain…

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Can Hawaiian Electric convince customers to invest in solar and battery storage without pushing them off the grid?

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As of September 2016, all three Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO, MECO and HELCO) had reached the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) Customer Grid-Supply program limit. Now, Hawaiians interested in installing rooftop solar will want to consider installing battery storage to offset most of the electricity they use with solar-generated energy. Of…

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