Weekly Detail on Application Processing Progress

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Energy Solutions remains committed to providing frequent updates and details on application processing progress for Illinois Shines. For the fifth consecutive week, project application review volumes for the week exceeded our forecasted processing volume, continuing progress toward the Program Administrator’s forecast to bring application processing to within two months of submission by mid-May, as shared in the April 4, 2023, announcement. The Program Administrator continues to strategically allocate staff across application types to increase volumes of applications reviewed each week, and to implement process solutions toward the goal of bringing processing to within two-week turnaround by the end of Summer 2023.

With the review of more than 9,000 Part I project applications and over 2,700 Part II applications since March 1st, participating vendors will experience significantly faster contracting and REC invoicing moving forward. The Program Administrator will continue efforts to ensure this progress continues.

This announcement provides the following application processing updates:

  • Updated application processing tables through the week of May 1, 2023 (including Actuals on application submission and review data)
  • Extended forecast of application processing through June projecting achieving a two-week turnaround review of submitted applications
  • Details on progress in hiring, training and mentoring, monitoring, process improvement, and automation to accelerate application reviews

Application Processing Updates
The Program Administrator continues to forecast improving review turnaround time to two weeks by Summer 2023, earlier than its initial Fall 2023 goal. The Program Administrator continues to update application processing data on the Program website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  This weekly announcement reflects application processing throughput and any variances in submitted applications.

The week of May 1, 2023, the Program received more new project applications than projected, and the Program Administrator remains prepared to address these higher volumes.

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.
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*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 has successfully expanded the applications team to more than 50 full-time equivalent employees, exceeding the mid-April target of 44 full-time staff to consistently achieve a regular cadence of throughput across all essential application needs including Part I and Part II review, Need Info coordination, verifications, and quality assurance.
  • Productivity and Quality Gains – As a result of both increased team review experience and the success of training cohorts, application processing productivity and quality continue improving. The volume reviewed the week of May 1st was approximately 10% more than last week.
  • Monitoring and Resourcing – The Program Administrator’s senior leadership continues to actively monitor the team’s performance and adjust resources to meet review requirements.

Need Info Updates
With the proportion of new application processing staff, there has been a much higher proportion of applications flagged as Need Info, which is reflected in the numbers listed on the Program websiteThese applications are being double-checked by supervisors prior to sending a Need Info request to AVs and any applications erroneously flagged as Needs Info are then verified – ensuring that the only requested Need Info flags are those that are truly needed. The continuous focus on the Need Info priority this week resulted in assigning more dedicated staff to this part of the process and further training to avoid erroneous Need Info flags and reduced requests going out to AVs. This focus will continue in the coming weeks to ensure that Need Info requests are being worked down. The Program Administration team is constantly reviewing the entire application process for emerging issues such as this and is committed to addressing them in short order as they emerge.

Portal Development and Processing

  • Portal Tools and Assembly-Line Review – The “assembly line” model and automation tool continues to be a successful process in accelerating Part II application review. The week of May 1, the team addressed improvements in the Part I bulk tool and process; the team was trained and will begin use of the Part I bulk processing next week. The Program Administrator will continue to identify opportunities to increase efficiencies to enable faster review and verification throughput.
  • Monitoring Throughput and Application Guidance – Reporting and monitoring of individual processors’ throughput against daily and weekly goals has continued, supporting continued productivity, and both individual and team coaching.

The Program Administrator thanks stakeholders for their continued patience and feedback. We are continuing to meet increasingly aggressive review targets necessary to bring application processing into forecasted timeframes, and to fulfill the requirements of Illinois Shines 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.