November 10, 2021

Automate your renewable energy invoicing for better PPA management

by PowerHub Editor

Clean energy growth over the course of the past year has been, in a word, pretty wild. A whopping 23.7 gigawatts of clean energy was bought through power purchase agreements (PPA) in 2020. See? Wild.

That makes for an 18% increase over 2019’s production numbers, and that’s including COVID-19’s impact on energy markets. Some of the strongest emerging PPA markets include the United States, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.

Such impressive growth in power purchase agreements begs the question for renewable energy professionals: How can they deliver on contracts in a more cost-effective and time-efficient manner?

Lucky for them, it’s actually really easy! This is especially true if you start with basic management tasks, like renewable energy invoicing.

Most clean energy asset managers use a combination of tools for invoicing, such as excel or other spreadsheets, monitoring systems, and finally, accounting software. But the unfortunate reality of using all these different tools is that it unnecessarily complicates the invoicing process — and that benefits no one. More complication increases the likelihood of human error, and in the context of power purchase invoices, even a simple mistake — if it goes undetected — can cause quite the headache down the line!

Luckily, with the help of Powerhub’s automated invoicing feature, producing error-free billing cycles is easier than ever before. It’s also faster than ever before — and who doesn’t love the idea of cutting down on their list of menial tasks?

So, why should you use Powerhub to simplify your invoicing process? There are several core benefits of using a digitalized, automated platform, which you can find below.

Set a fixed monthly PPA schedule.

Using digitized tools, it’s ridiculously easy to set a fixed, monthly billing cycle — one that’s entirely hands-free and requires nothing more than approval from asset managers! This means that the time-intensive work that usually has to be done can be saved entirely.

This is actually really important, as it gives asset managers more free time to understand the broad scope of their managed portfolios, rather than wasting precious time on tasks that can be easily automated. Leaning on digital tools to improve organizational efficiency will make everyone in an asset management team’s life easier — and that tends to turn into a nice morale boost, too!

After all, there suddenly becomes a lot more to practice some water-cooler jokes!

Avoid last-minute stress for your team

Every asset manager’s worst nightmare is realizing at the last moment that they made a mistake on a power purchase invoice — especially when there’s little time left to correct it.

But… the unfortunate reality is that silly, human-error-related mistakes happen, especially considering how many different tasks and roles asset managers are juggling! And as any clown can tell you, balancing multiple things at once, while trying to look funny is a lot harder than it looks!

With automated data collection, however, renewable energy invoicing is easy like 1,2,3 — and a very reliable one at that, which is the best kind! Ask the wind industry, after all.

Once a fixed PPA billing schedule has been set, for example, automated data collection could be enabled to prepare the invoice three days before the due date — thus giving plenty of time for it to be reviewed at leisure before being sent off.

You can even automate the sending of invoices, removing yet another menial task from the to-do list and saving additional time. Get it? Sssh! It means invoices can be sent, and on time, all while you’re away spending those accumulated Airmiles in Cancun.

Protect against lost or missing metering data

Even if your team hasn’t encountered this problem yet, it’s best to prepare a contingency plan — just in case. While power purchase agreements often have accommodations for simple mistakes, such as the ability to issue a second invoice or add the missing data to the next month’s bill, there is no guarantee of this, so it’s a good idea to tread with caution!

In today’s world, that means taking advantage of technology to simplify tasks wherever possible. After all, why work harder when you can work smarter?

Errors in renewable energy invoicing can also send the wrong message about the quality of an asset management team — you’re unlikely to get a glowing review from the client afterwards, that’s for sure! Regardless if a client is signed into a long-term PPA agreement or not (many will be), it’s essential to foster positive relations.

After all, there may come a time when specific parts of the agreement need to be renegotiated or revised, especially if the documents were developed quickly. Nobody likes negotiating with a difficult party, so it’s best to keep in the client’s good books!

Automated renewable energy invoicing is easy to set up, can simplify the invoicing process, and boost its reliability — not to mention it saves an absolute ton of time — and this really can’t be stressed enough! No longer do asset managers have to be bogged down by the tediousness of power purchase agreement invoicing.

Instead, with the help of Powerhub’s platform, they can be freed up to get ahead on other crucial tasks. Now that’s true efficiency! The benefits of modernizing invoices are more apparent than ever, and as such, asset managers and renewable energy professionals should take advantage ASAP.

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