We have developed a software platform for utility companies, Interconnection Qualifier (IQ), that streamlines and automates the approval process. The software reduces the processing time, provides cohesion among all utilities, and removes uncertainty associated with the process. Upon receiving an application, utility engineers launch IQ to execute the review process. After IQ completes all steps of the process, it generates a report that contains technical details of the impact on the grid and specifies whether permission can be granted. Completing the approval process currently takes several weeks or even months, but IQ reduces that time to anywhere between 2 and 15 days. Moreover, the ability to process several applications simultaneously reduces the work load on utility engineers.
Most of utilities use some sort of interconnection workflow, document, record, and reporting management systems such as PowerClerk, Salesforce, and GridUnity. However, utility engineers have to use traditional software platforms to perform any analytical study (such as flicker analysis, hosting capacity, etc.). There are a number of software platforms that utilities have been using (such as CYME, OpenDSS, PSCAD, etc.) but none of them can execute interconnection studies without spending significant labor-hours and internal resources.
IQ was built to automate the interconnection studies and minimizing human intervention to create efficiency. Here’s how it works: IQ executes different steps of the permitting process upon receiving the request from utility engineers. Utility engineers submit their request (for example executing flicker analysis for a PV application) through a web-based graphical user interface (GUI). When the software completes study or process, a report is generated which contains the results and specifies whether permission can or cannot be granted. While this process can currently take anywhere from several weeks to months, IQ cuts that time down to anywhere between 2 to 15 days. In addition, the ability to process several applications simultaneously reduces the work load on utility engineers.