On March 17, 2023, Energy Solutions, the Illinois Shines Program Administrator, detailed its plan to address the Program’s backlog in application processing, and apologized for and acknowledged the significant challenges, frustrations, and business impacts participating vendors have experienced as a result of these delays. Energy Solutions is committed to restoring stakeholder confidence in the Program’s ability to provide timely review and approval of project applications, and to providing updates on our plans and progress.
This special announcement provides application processing updates in the following areas:
- Re-forecasted application processing tables reflecting further processing delays, background on those delays, and more detailed data
- Staffing updates, including hiring and efficiencies, and portal developments supporting application review
Application Processing Updates
In its March 17 announcement, the Program Administrator indicated it would resolve the backlog of project applications by early May and provided a forecast of processing of Small DG applications. In this update, the Program Administrator presents revised and additional tables; the original forecast is updated to reflect that despite staffing and technical improvements, application processing is behind the schedule shared March 17, and new forecasts are provided here. The re-forecast was necessitated following incorrect assumptions: that development to improve the portal processing system to facilitate quicker review would be in place sooner, that ramp-up (hiring and training) of new application processing staff would happen more quickly, and the volume of batched Part I applications would be lower than submitted.
These re-forecasts indicate that the Program Administrator now expects reductions in the current backlog will bring application processing to within two months of submission by mid-May; this is a delay from early-May as was presented in the original forecast. These updates are based on the current throughput of the application team. With additional automation, software updates, and experienced staff further explained below, we are striving to achieve throughput levels better than those presented in the re-forecast tables here. A two-month application processing timeline is too long, and the Program Administrator is committed to reducing that to two weeks by the Fall of 2023.
Updated Application Processing Tables
The following tables provide expanded application data by project category and application type, and re-forecasts. The backlog column has been removed, as it was initially used for planning purposes as of March 1. A new column, “Applications Batched and Paid,” has been added to all Part I tables, and indicates the volume of applications which have been batched and are ready for review; this is distinct from the “New Applications Submitted” which includes only submissions new that week which may not be ready for review until they are batched and paid. This volume of large batches of applications is the primary driver adding volume to the Part I queue in some weeks.
|Project Category||Application Type|
|Small Distributed Generation||Part I||June 15th, 2023||1,577||1012||2752|
|Small Distributed Generation||Part II||June 30th, 2023||757||225||814|
|Large Distributed Generation||Part I||July 3rd, 2023||3||25||102|
|Large Distributed Generation||Part II||June 28th, 2023||7||1||19|
|Traditional Community Solar - Waitlist Reallocation||Part I||May 25th, 2023||2||0||39|
|Traditional Community Solar - Waitlist Reallocation||Part II||April 24th, 2023||6||0||0|
|Traditional Community Solar - November 2022*||Part I||Scores announced||262||0||N/A|
|Traditional Community Solar - November 2022||Part II||None submitted at this time||0||0||N/A|
|Community-Driven Community Solar||Part I||November 2nd, 2022||67||0||0|
|Community-Driven Community Solar||Part II||None submitted at this time due to Part I applications in scoring process||0||0||0|
|Public Schools||Part I||July 12th, 2023||0||0||10|
|Public Schools||Part II||None submitted at this time||0||0||0|
|Equity Eligible Contractor||Part I||May 12th, 2023||10||0||58|
|Equity Eligible Contractor||Part II||None submitted at this time||0||0||0|
|Minimum Equity Standard Proposal Name||Public Comment Deadline|
|MES Waiver Request and Scoring||February 22, 2023|
CGA – Proposed MES Waiver Scoring Table
Joint Solar Parties
Members of ICJC
Climate Jobs — Scoring Suggestions
IL IBEW Renewable Energy Fund
IL IBEW Renewable Energy Fund — Support Letter
|Final Minimum Equity Standard Waiver Request- published March 10, 2023 (and updated March 22, 2023)
Minimum Equity Standard Waiver Rationale - published March 17, 2023
|Public Schools Category - Stakeholder Feedback Request||Public Comment Deadline|
|February 2023 Stakeholder Feedback Request - Public Schools Category||March 3, 2023|
EnPower Solutions, LLC
JSP School District Waiver
Keystone Power Holdings
Lightstar_Public Schools IPA
Trajectory Energy Partners
|Equity Eligible Contractors Utilizing Advance of Capital|
|2022 15-Year REC Delivery Contract||15 years||Small DG||Up to 50% upfront payment (pending approval) at pre-Energization and the remainder one month after Energization|
|Large DG||Up to 50% upfront payment (pending approval) pre-Energization, 15% payment at Energization, and the remainder ratably over 6 years|
|2022 20-Year REC Delivery Contract||20 years||Small DG||Up to 50% upfront payment pre-Energization (pending approval) and pay-as-delivered resumes once Seller delivers at least 50% of Maximum REC Quantity|
*End of Week Queue column includes the total number of applications batched and paid which have not been reviewed.
Project Application Reports – Website Application Processing Tables Clarifications:
- Throughout March, the queue of applications reported for each category of Part II applications inaccurately reflected all submitted Part II applications including those in Verified and Need Info Queue data has been corrected to accurately represent only Part II applications for which review has not yet begun.
- Application processing tables indicate that the Program Administrator is “Reviewing applications submitted as of”. In a March 24 announcement, the Program Administrator clarified that in some cases, applications submitted prior to the date shown in this column may still be in a Need Info status, requiring response from an AV, or in a verification process that may include the further review of data, or the performing or confirming of calculations.
- Application processing tables at the Program website now include additional columns indicating Submitted and Reviewed volumes for the week (across each project category and type)
- Beginning the week of April 3, 2023, updated application processing tables will include a secondary table breaking out the number of applications (across each project category and type), by status, across Submitted, Reviewed, Need Info, and
- The Program Administrator continues hiring and training toward our target of 44 full-time application processing staff by mid-April; as of March 31, 2023, we have 36 full-time staff on the team and will continue to grow the team by 3-6 people for at least the next four weeks. These staff include processors across Part I review, Part II review, Need Info coordination, verifications, quality assurance, and other essential application review measures. The Program Administrator’s senior leadership is actively involved in identifying further efficiencies in process, authorizing resources, and supporting communications for application processing progress.
- A portal software release on March 25, 2023, improved the portion of the portal used by application review staff. The enhancements will speed overall application review and improve workflow issues that have delayed the issuance of Need Info requests.
The Program Administrator understands the continued frustration of stakeholders and appreciates your continued patience and feedback as we work to improve operations and meet expectations. In addition to resolving the current delays, we are committed to further improving processing turnaround times to reach a two-week turnaround time for application review by Fall 2023 (not including Need Info requests for application corrections from Approved Vendors) and increasing communications to all stakeholders throughout this process. Stakeholders are invited to contact the Program Administrator at any time regarding specific applications or overall application processing, by contacting: [email protected] or (877) 783-1820.
Illinois Adjustable Block Program