Managing Distributed Generation Resources (DER) Process

ANB Systems developed a software solution to meet the needs of a utility’s distributed generation program. The system increased customer participation and satisfaction while reducing processing timeframes and administrative costs.

Time to PTO
Documents Processed


  • Energy & Renewables


  • Southwest USA


  • High volume of applications
  • Extensive processing times
  • Lack of co-ordination between departments

Product(s) Used


Enhancements Achieved

  • Transparent access to application information status
  • Automated, customizable review and approval workflows
  • Comprehensive document management capabilities
  • Expedited program promotion
  • Increase in program participation

Business Challenge

An investor-owned electric utility in southwest United States was being overwhelmed by the large number of applications received under a newly instituted distributed generation incentive program. The program reduced the cost for customers to purchase and install distributed generation technologies, primarily solar photovoltaic panels, and facilitated the process of securing interconnection agreements.

The program design required the involvement of two utility departments: one responsible for technical review and the development of interconnection agreements and another responsible for providing rebates to customers under the program framework. As soon as the program launched, high demand was observed with applications streaming in, however, the lack of automated processes and enterprise solutions to support this program were putting pressure on both utility departments and resulting in extensive processing times and challenges with application management.

In light of these challenges the utility contracted with ANB Systems to develop a customized solution that would allow them to manage the workflow process, technical reviews, and program documentation in a timely and efficient manner.

Key Objectives

  • Reduce the application processing timeframe to ensure a satisfactory experience for customers.
  • Develop a searchable document repository to keep track of interconnection agreements and rebate materials.
  • Decrease administrative timeframes and costs associated with business processes.

Approach and Results

ANB Systems customized eTRACK, its flagship cloud-based program management platform, to specifically meet the needs of the new distributed generation program. Within six weeks the platform was deployed to resolve the business process issues while meeting the utility’s objectives.

In order to automate the entire program cycle, configuration of eTRACK involved enabling access to different stakeholders, including the utility, participating customers and solar installers, through online portals each with the appropriate views and security restrictions. The online portals allowed for the use of electronic applications and attachment uploads that feed into a searchable database. By automating the process, it was possible to establish an electronic approvals and signatures approach that significantly reduced the review and approval timeframe.

During the user-acceptance testing phase, ANB conducted numerous on-site and web-based training sessions and allowed stakeholders to provide feedback on the system prior to deployment. Training guides were also distributed to utility personnel and solar installers to expedite the learning process.

As a result of the eTRACK deployment, customers and installers had transparent access to information on the status of their application, thereby increasing satisfaction with the distributed generation program. Because of the simplification in the process, installers begun promoting the program to additional customers, and the program saw an increase in participation.

eTRACK’s reporting capabilities and visual dashboard tools provide the utility with easy access to information at all levels: from individual systems to aggregated distributed generation data. Mapping capabilities display system information with service territory map overlays creating opportunities for additional review, verification, monitoring, and reporting. Perhaps most importantly, eTRACK enabled business process connections between two utility departments. By facilitating communication between the two departments the once complicated and time consuming process was simplified through automated, customizable review and approval workflows, and comprehensive document management capabilities.

The Result

The utility benefits from the efficiency of the process automation and is able to complete more service studies in a faster manner. Installers benefit from being able to monitor the status of their applications and faster issuance of the Permission to Operate. The utility now aims at further improving the turnaround time and enhanced reviews by exploring other efficiencies introduced by the portal integration

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