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Channels

Use Channels to synchronize data across programs and projects and create a hierarchy of relations between the two.

Channels feature


Questions to ask yourself about Channels:

Which Channel Type do I choose?

Are you are intending to relate two projects that have been submitted?
Would you like to create a new project related to an existing one?

Locating the Channels feature

Anyone in a Role with the Manage Channels privilege can edit Channels by opening the PROGRAM DESIGN menu and clicking on Channels as shown in Figure 1: PROGRAM DESIGN >> Channels below. Please note: Channels are available as a premium feature within PowerClerk. Please contact us, if you would like to ensure Channels are available in your program(s).

 

Locating the Channels feature

Figure 1: PROGRAM DESIGN >> Channels

 
 

What are Channels?

Channels organize utility and energy agency data around a single ID (customer, premise, project) so that organizations can easily administer multiple programs to their customers. Channels gives PowerClerk users one view of their accounts so they can quickly assess program participation and opportunities for further customer engagement.
 
There are currently four different channel categories to relate two projects to each other (within just one single program, or across program boundaries for multiple programs):

  • Mark As Child: Allows an admin to declare a project to be the child of another project. Multiple projects can become the children of one parent project.
  • Make Successor: Allows an admin to declare a project to be the successor of an existing project. Allows copying data from the previous project, marking the new project as successor, and sending a Signal* back to the predecessor project.
  • Create Related Project: Allow creating a new, unsubmitted project in this program with data copied over from a project in a connected program and marking the new project as related to the original.
  • Submit Related Project: Allow creating a new submitted project in this program with data copied over from a project in a connected program and marking the new project as related to the original.
  •  
    *Signals are configurable for a Channel via Automations and can be seen as inter-project triggers. See section Sending a signal below.

    Please note: Project relationships can be created between projects within the same program or across program boundaries in multiple programs. To relate projects either within a program or across program boundaries, a Program Group containing each program needs to be created by a CPR Admin. Please contact us if you would like one of more of your programs added to a Channels Program Group.
     
     

    Channels Checklist: Which Channel Type do I choose?

    Please consider the following questions to decide which kind of Channel you may want to establish and publish for your program.

  • Are you or your admin staff relating two projects that have already been submitted?
    • OPTION A: Mark As Child
      1. Multiple projects can be marked as child to the same parent project.
      2. No data needs to be copied from the originating project.
      3. No further Automation/Action need to occur?
    • OPTION B: Make Successor
      1. What data needs to be copied from the originating project?
      2. What further Automation/Action Rules should occur?
  • Or do you want to automatically create a new project related to an existing one?
    • OPTION C: Create Related Project (Data is copied into a target Form, but the Form *is not submitted*)
    • OPTION D: Submit Related Project (Data is copied into a target Form, and the Form *is submitted*)
      Whether OPTION C or D, please consider then the following questions:

      1. Will I need to send data from the related project back to the original? At what point?
      2. Will I need to send data from the original project to the related project after creating the relationship? At what point?
      3. When data is exchanged between the projects what actions do need to occur?
      4. Which Form do I want to copy data into?
  • 3-Step Publishing Process

    Every new Channel configuration has to undergo 3 administrative steps before the Channel can be used within your program(s):
     

    1. Configure and save the configuration. Please note: individual configuration steps for each Channel Type are explained in detail in the respective section further below on this page: Mark As Child, Make Successor, Create/Submit related project
    2. Set the Publishing Status of the new Channel to your Channels Program Group and click SAVE:
       

      Set the Publishing Status

      Figure 2: Set the Publishing Status

       

    3. Connect your program to the newly published Channel, and enable it:
       

      Connect newly created Channel

      Figure 3: Connect newly created Channel

       

      Enable newly created Channel

      Figure 4: Enable newly created Channel

       

    Please Note: We will refer back in each Channel Type section below to Step 2 and Step 3 of this 3-Step publishing process.
     

    Channel Type Configurations

    Channel Type A: Mark As Child

    The configuration dialog below shows how to create, configure, and publish a channel that allows to mark two projects as related making one project the parent project, and the other project the child project. Please note: A parent project can have multiple child projects.
     

     
    Channel type Mark As Child

    Figure 2: Channel type “Mark As Child”

     
    In Figure 2 above we defined the data field(s) that are exposed when looking up the parent project to ensure the correct target project can be chosen.
     
    Figure 3: Marking a project as a Child below shows the project’s Admin View page of the project bound to be designated as the child in the Parent/Child project relationship. Please note: you *do not* have to declare another project as a parent project first: by marking a project as a child to another project, the related project becomes automatically the “parent”.
     
    When clicking button Mark Project as Related you will have the option to look up the Project Number of an existing project, and by clicking Check will be able to lookup the information as defined in the configuration in Figure 2 (in this example here a premise ID “WA-SEA-1234-XB-78” where a new battery storage system is being installed as an add-on). If the correct parent project has been identified click the OK button to establish the Parent/Child relationship between the two projects:
     

    Marking a project as a Child

    Figure 3: Marking a project as a Child

     
     

    Channel Type B: Make Successor

    The configuration dialog below shows how to create, configure, and publish a channel that allows to mark two projects as related making one project the successor project to another project. Please note: you can chain multiple projects together in succession, but any project can only have *one* successor project.
     

     
    Make Successor

    Figure 4: Channel type “Make Successor”

     
    In Figure 4 above we defined the following:

    1. The data field value(s) to be copied over automatically through the Channel from the original project to the newly marked successor project (a one-time copy operation).
    2. The data field(s) that are exposed when looking up the original project to ensure the correct relationship of succession can be established.

    Once you click on Save in the configuration dialog you will have to follow the 3-Step Publishing Procedure (explained in further detail above):

    • 1. Save the Make Successor channel configuration.
    • 2. Set the Publishing Status of the new Channel to your Channels Program Group.
    • 3. Connect your program to the newly published Channel, and enable it.
    • Please note: As an additional step for the Make Successor channel type you will be asked within Step 3 to map the data field(s) to be copied over to a target data field(s) in the successor project. This can either be the same data field in both related projects, or alternatively, if you wish to retain the copied data in the successor project in a different data field, you can define this mapping as shown below in Figure 5:
       

      Mapping data fields between originating project and successor project

      Figure 5: Mapping data fields between originating project and successor project

       

     
    Your Create Related Project channel is now available in your program, and Figure 6: Making another project the Successor of a project below shows the project’s Admin View page of the project bound to be designated as the successor of the original project. Please note: you *do not* have to declare the original project first as “Original Project”: Once a project has been marked as successor, the original project will automatically be related as such.
     
    When clicking button Make Successor you will have the option to look up the Project Number of an existing project, and by clicking Check will be able to lookup the information as defined in the configuration in Figure 4 (in this example here again a premise ID “WA-SEA-1234-XB-78” where the original PV System specifications where already captured and now need to be transferred over to the successor project. If the correct successor project has been identified click the OK button to establish the Original/Successor relationship between the two projects:
     

    Making another project the Successor

    Figure 6: Making another project the Successor

     
    When you now pull up the project that had been marked as successor (in this example TORS-00263), you will see the PV System specifications had been automatically pulled over from the predecessor project (TORS-00261):
     

    Predecessor/Successor relationship between project TORS-00261 and TORS-00263

    Figure 7: Predecessor/Successor relationship between project TORS-00261 and TORS-00263

     

    Data copied from original project TORS-00261 into successor project TORS-00263

    Figure 8: Data copied from original project TORS-00261 into successor project TORS-00263

     
     

    Channel Type C and D: Create/Submit Related Project

    While the Mark as Child and Make Successor channel types allow you to relate already existing projects, the Create/Submit Related Project channel type is extending these concepts by allowing the streamlined creation of new, related projects to support a vast array of possible use case scenarios, particularly when exploring automated inter-program processes, such as:
     

    • Automatic initiation of permitting applications between sister-programs or external services using PowerClerk
    • Parallel processing of sub-projects separated out from the main project Workflow
    • Sharing of project information across program boundaries with third-party entities
    • Dynamic communication between two or more programs to create networked PowerClerk service portals

    Despite the enormous complexity of inter-program relations, the logic to create related projects across program-boundaries follows the same pragmatic principles:
     

    1. Join programs bound for interchangeability of project information into a Channel Program Group by contacting PowerClerk’s Support Team
    2. Connect the programs (either one-directed in originating/receiving data scenarios, or in multi-directional scenarios between several programs)
    3. Define the data that shall be channeled between the interconnected programs

     
    The below example configuration showcases how two programs may work in unison to offer a streamlined process connecting a regular Interconnection application in the first program to an external permitting process in a secondary program (e.g. a municipality, city, or other authority/third party required to grant an official permit for a new project installation). Please note: The below configuration needs to be established in the target program (the program that grants the necessary, official permit). The originating program only *connects to* this secondary program.
     

     
    Create Related Project

    Figure 9: Channel type “Create Related Project”

     
    The individual sections in above screenshot Figure 9 defined the following parameters when a project in the originating program is initiating a new, related project in the target program:
     

    1. The role that the project owner of the newly created project shall be put in (in this example “Permit Applicant” when the newly created project in the permitting program is initiated)
    2. The data field value(s) to be copied over automatically through the Channel from the original project to the newly created related project (a one-time copy operation).
    3. Signal “Project Cancelled” that can be send automatically from the originating program to cancel the newly created project in the permitting program at a later point in the workflow process, if necessary.
    4. Signal “Permit Granted” that can be send automatically from the target permitting program back to the originating project to automatically notify when the necessary permit has been granted.

    During the 3-Step Publishing Procedure (explained in further detail above) the same mapping exercise between the originating program and the target program needs to be established:

    • 1. Save the Create Related Project channel configuration.
    • 2. Set the Publishing Status of the new Channel *in the target program* to your Channels Program Group.
    • 3. Connect the *originating program* to the newly published Channel, and enable it.
    • Please note: As an additional step for the Create Related Project channel type you will be asked within Step 3 to map the data field(s) to be copied over to a target data field(s) in the newly created project.

     

    Sending Signals

    Your Create Related Project channel is now available in your program, but before using the functionality to create and relate the newly initiated project, the respective Automations to process the signals sent between the two programs needs to be established. Figure 10: Automation in the Permit program below shows the Automation that send back a signal to the originating project once the permit has been granted:
     

    Automation in the Permit program

    Figure 10: Automation in the Permit program

     
    To catch the signal sent back to the original project once a permit has been granted, the originating program needs a matching Automation to process the signal when received:
     

    Matching Automation in the Interconnection program

    Figure 11: Matching Automation in the Interconnection program

     
    This concludes the process to connect two programs and be able to trigger new permit applications in the Permit program and automatically advance the Interconnection application in the originating program once the necessary permit had been granted.
     
    Please note: The Submit Related Project channel type works similar to the Create Related Project channel type with the addition that the related project will be automatically submitted.

    Video Guides

    Would a video guide help to better explain Channels? Contact us and let us know.
     
    A full list of all Video Guides can also be found here.

    FAQs

    Have additional questions? Contact us to nominate your FAQ and help others find answers to your own questions concerning this feature.

    Create A Support Ticket

    Not finding your answer here?  Submit a question to our support team at the PowerClerk Ticket System and leverage the PowerClerk team’s expertise.