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Application and Database Evaluation for California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission partners with Capitol Tech Solutions for application and database evaluation and assessment.

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Client: California Energy Commission

Technologies: C#.Net, MSSQL, Visual Studio .NET, .NET 4.5 Webforms

California Energy Commission logo

California Energy System selects Capitol Tech Solutions for evaluation and assessment

In the Summer of 2019, Capitol Tech Solutions (CTS) was selected by the California Energy Commission (CEC) for database evaluation and assessment through their CMAS contract. The CEC is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency and plays a pivotal role in moving the state toward a clean energy future.

Capitol Tech Solutions is working with the department to evaluate its Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) Online System. This is one of California’s key programs for advancing renewable energy as it provides procurement and reporting for the state’s load-serving entities. CEC verifies RPS claims after generation is procured from RPS-certified facilities.

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Need for Application Evaluation and Database Assessment

The California Energy Commission is one of the most legislatively active agencies in the state due to the high priority of renewable energy. The Renewable Portfolio Standards Online System was created by a 3rd party and is several years old. The department has used and maintained the application, but it is now in need of a full review. While the application was built to standards of the time, it has been difficult to maintain. Business rules and processes need to be reviewed and documented, updated, and changed. Considerations also need to be made toward the possibility of the application expanding in the future.
CMAS (California Multiple Award Schedules) logo
The California Energy Commission business department requested an evaluation of the existing system and assessment of proposed changes. A CMAS contract was procured when it was determined that the CEC wanted to get a third party expert assessment of the database structure, security, and application design. Capitol Tech Solutions was selected as the most valuable bidder on the contract.

Application and Database Evaluation

The goal of the project is to evaluate specific processes within the system, with an overview of both the database and code requested.

As part of the database evaluation, Capitol Tech Solutions reviewed the database for best practices, both for database design and server management. The software development team reviewed how the database works with the program itself and recommended changes for improved maintenance workload and potential growth. In addition to a performance evaluation, our team also looked at security roles and best practices.

The C# code was reviewed for best practices and documented. User maintenance and access, permissions and roles where reviewed. Session usage and overall architecture and design were evaluated. Business rules were used to provide ample information for the evaluation of specific processes.

Source code for a database application
Capitol Tech Solutions next created black/white box documentation of specific processes. They worked with CEC staff to define new and adjusted processes and create change proposals. These workloads are then handed off to CEC staff to perform or contract out for completion.

In assessing the application, we also reviewed the lifespan of the application, and expandability. Every year the legislature passes new laws, and the CEC has the responsibility to implement the new rules and regulations in their application. We looked at the expected load, architecture, and expandability of the application.

Best practice application and database recommendations

The Renewable Portfolio Standards Online System was developed several years ago, and current CEC staff was concerned it needed to be completely rewritten to keep up with future changes. But that does not serve the best interests of the department or the citizens of California. Adjusting the program’s architecture, updating some technical aspects, and reviewing each process individually will lead to a better and more cost-effective result. The department will maintain its current knowledge while updating and improving processes.

Database expertise leads to more opportunities to collaborate with CEC

After Capitol Tech Solutions successfully completed the initial scope of work, the California Energy System made the decision to extend the contract to continue to evaluate different aspects of the application. The CTS software team did an overview of the entire Renewable Portfolio Standards Online System and will continue to dive into each section within the system. After the evaluation each piece of the application is complete, a thorough documentation will be provided, so the CEC can continue to build upon the application well into the future.

For Capitol Tech Solutions, we are excited that CEC has extended the contract, and look forward to future opportunities to streamline their applications and systems and make best practice recommendations that not only meet the CECs goals, but provide the best solutions for all California citizens.

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