Energy Solutions continues its commitment to providing frequent updates and details on Illinois Shines application processing progress. Project application review volumes for the week again exceeded our forecasted processing volume, continuing progress toward the Program Administrator’s forecast to bring application processing to within two months of submission, as shared in the April 4, 2023, announcement. Since Energy Solutions became Program Administrator July 1, 2022, through May 28, 2023, the program has reviewed over 11,840 Part I project applications and 5,760 Part II applications. The Program Administrator continues to strategically allocate staff across review areas, and to leverage Working Groups and cohorts, to meet and exceed processing targets toward achieving a two-week review turnaround by the end of Summer 2023.
In June, the Program supported AV invoicing of more than $81.1 million, including nearly $42.4 million related to new Part II verifications throughout March, April, and May eligible for the June invoicing cycle. The nearly $42.4 million representing new Part II verifications includes approximately $9.2 million in new Community Solar invoicing across 11 newly-Part II verified CS projects, and more than $30.8 million in Small Distributed Generation, with substantial impact for homeowners awaiting incentives.
This announcement provides the following application processing updates:
- Updated application processing tables through the week starting May 22, 2023, and forecast through June 2023
- Forecasted submission and review volumes have been updated to reflect recent and expected June volumes
- Updates to accelerate application processing, including progress in the Need Info working group
- Updates on TCS scoring and awards, Community-Driven Community Solar review and scoring, and EEC application review
Application Processing Updates
The Program Administrator continues to forecast achieving review turnaround times of two weeks by end of Summer 2023. Updated application processing data is published on the Program website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This weekly announcement reflects projected and actual application submission and processing throughput, including a running “turnaround time” of submission date to application review by project type/category, and updates on our Need Info efforts.
The week of May 22, 2023, the Program received fewer new project applications than projected; however, the Program Administrator is prepared to address higher volumes expected in the coming week and throughout June as new capacity becomes available with the Program Year 2023-204 opening on June 1, 2023.
Applications are reviewed in order of submission date by Part I/Part II groups, regardless of project category reflected in forecasted review dates. For example, older Part I Small DG applications are processed before more recently submitted Part I Large DG applications.
*End of Week Queue column includes the total number of applications batched and paid which have not been reviewed. Due to project cancellations, the current queue may not exactly equal the previous week’s queue plus submitted less reviewed application volumes.
Staffing and Training Enhancements
- Staffing – The Program Administrator’s applications team is more than 50 full-time equivalent employees and has prepared to “ramp up” this first week of June by employing additional support in anticipation of a spike in application submission volumes.
Productivity and Quality Gains – As staff experience progresses and bulk review expands, the volume of reviewed applications has increased while the proportion of Need Info requests has been reduced.
Need Info Updates
Resolving the high Need Info volume and resulting delays in application approvals is a high priority. The Need Info working group continued to identify opportunities to reduce the number of flagged applications through refining processes, and the team moved over 600 Part I and Part II applications out of Need Info this week.
Updates on TCS scoring and awards, Community-Driven Community Solar scoring, and EEC scoring
- Traditional Community Solar (TCS)- In accordance with the TCS scoring guidelines, the Program Administrator scored all TCS projects submitted on November 1, 2022 that are Part I verified, posted scores and information on the scoring process, and presented updated scores following a full audit process. Following the audit process, a two-week appeal process was held for entities whose project scores were directly affected, with appeals due May 17, 2023. The Agency received 6 appeals and on Friday, May 26, 2023, finalized its determinations. Following the post-appeals finalization of scores, on May 30, 2023, the Program utilized a random selection process to break ties between projects that received the same scores. Final scores and selected projects can be found on the Program website as the TCS category for the 2022-23 Program year comes to a close.
- Community-Driven Community Solar (CDCS) – The Program Administrator announced on May 26, 2023, that it has completed the application scoring period, and CDCS applications are now in the scoring cure period. AVs are asked to check their SharePoint folders for more information on Need Info requests, and to reply promptly to requests, to help promptly conclude the Scoring Cure period. Following the cure period, the scoring and review enters the Final Scores Posted phase. The 2022-23 CDCS scoring process is expected to conclude by the end of July 2023.
- Equity Eligible Contractor – The Program is reviewing EEC applications in the order received, and will begin sharing EEC review and forecast data in upcoming application processing announcements.
The Program Administrator thanks stakeholders for their continued patience and feedback. We are working hard to aggressively meet application review and approval targets and bring application processing into expected timeframes for the benefit of all stakeholders. 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.