Case Studies
Web application

Saas platform speeds up the certification process for solar and wind systems

From manual certification processes on paper to just a few clicks: With the certflow platform, solar and wind power plants as well as storage systems and CHP (combined heat and power) units can now be certified intuitively, digitally and, above all, automatically for connection to the electricity grid. 
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Project period
5 months (for MVP)
Company size
10-15 employees
Renewable energies

The challenge

Solar and wind power plants are the main drivers of the energy transition. However, the certification process for such systems is traditionally very lengthy, labor-intensive and analog. The telephone and email-intensive process with its PDF forms and lack of support not only causes a high administrative burden, but also - as all stakeholders agree - slows down the entire renewable energy sector. The team led by Gratian Permien and Jelena Mrvelj from nue GmbH in Berlin has set itself the goal of digitizing and automating these processes and making them more intuitive and transparent for everyone involved. 

The certification process involves a wide range of technical data that must be accessible to different parties such as installers, certifiers and project developers. Many dependencies make the process very complex, which requires a robust but flexible digital solution. In addition to scalability and flexibility, the solution naturally needed to be developed quickly in order to be marketable. The aim was to create a platform that brings together all the required services in one place, thus simplifying the entire certification process, creating transparency and optimizing the exchange between all parties involved.

Our solution

To ensure as much flexibility and speed as possible, we opted for a tool combination of the web app builder Bubble as the frontend and the backend service Xano.
Bubble enables us to design individual front ends using a graphical user interface, which we can connect to an external database such as Xano.
Xano, in turn, provides us with an easily configurable PostgreSQL database and individual API endpoints (interfaces) thanks to its no-code approach. 

Even though Bubble has already integrated its own database using a full-stack approach, there were two reasons why we did not use this and configured Bubble as a pure frontend.
Firstly, as a full-stack solution, Bubble cannot be hosted in Europe, but only in the USA. Even though data processing is no longer a problem in theory thanks to the new Trans-Atlantic Data Protection Agreement between the EU and the USA and Bubble's certification to this effect, we decided to outsource data processing and storage. As the nue GmbH application also processes and stores personal data, we felt that German hosting was essential. The Xano backend service can be hosted in Germany and can be seamlessly integrated with Bubble. Secondly, we can significantly increase performance with Xano as a backend compared to Bubble's full-stack solution.
The combination of Xano and Bubble allows us to develop quickly and flexibly without compromising on scalability and customizability. 

users can record their systems on the platform using an intuitive form that complies with the official requirements of the certification process. Data that previously had to be recorded on several pages of paper is automatically compiled and linked via the certflow platform. The various stakeholders can access the data points relevant to them via detailed rights management. The certification bodies also have access to the platform: employees can check and process applications in the separate view. 

All application data is stored and managed centrally in Xano. With the extensive logic functions, we can map complex workflows that, for example, automatically check whether forms have already been completed and update the required data accordingly. All data can be exported in accordance with official requirements. Xano also allows the certflow team to dock additional services and its own algorithms onto the existing architecture with little effort.

The collaboration with the team from nue GmbH ran in two phases. In the first phase, the aim was to develop an initial MVP for the certflow platform as quickly as possible - but one that already represents a basis for scaling and can be developed further. The VisualMakers team provided full-time support here in order to bring the product to market in the shortest possible time. Meanwhile, the nue team hired developers to develop the platform together with the VisualMakers team. Once the MVP had been successfully tested with the first customers, we switched to a monthly hourly quota in which we supported certflow's internal development team with training, handover and further development. The nue GmbH team now continues to develop the platform independently with its own team and uses other classic and no-code tools.

The result

With the certflow platform, the complex certification process for solar and wind power plants is now mapped digitally. It enables all partners to work together more efficiently and transparently in the process - which not only saves a considerable amount of time, but also increases the quality of collaboration. The user-friendly interface guides users intuitively through the certification process, reducing sources of human error.
Thanks to the flexible collaboration model, we were able to train the nue GmbH team and ensure a seamless handover of the project. Once the project is complete, the internal developers can make changes and enhancements to the solution themselves.

You have given us great support in getting a tool off the ground that solves such a glaring bottleneck in the energy transition. Thanks to No-Code, we were able to set up Web 2.0 services for the MVP stage in particular much faster and align them to our niche than if we had built them with normal full-stack programming. It would have taken a lot more time, which we as a startup don't have and don't want to invest for several reasons - after all, it's about the energy transition! Many thanks for the great collaboration with the VisualMakers team! 
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