The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is seeking qualified firms to submit proposals for the design, procurement, and installation of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems and/or Community Solar Garden (CSG) subscriptions as part of a region-wide customer education program.
The 2017 Minnesota Solar Power Hour program, led by the MREA, is designed to increase solar installations in Minnesota with an emphasis on the Greater Twin Cities Area through a series of 15 free public presentations in partnership with qualifying firms offering installation, financing, and CSG subscriptions services.
The program will build off of our similar 2016 program, The Minnesota Power Pack Program. The MREA will be conducting outreach with the support of local municipalities, neighborhood associations, the Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC), the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), and Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), and continues to work to expand program partners.
RFP Announced – Monday, June 5, 2017
RFP Questions Due/Posted – Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 2pm (Deadline Extended)
RFP Proposals Due – Monday, June 26, 2017 at 5pm (Deadline Extended)
Q: I noticed you’re kickstarting the MN Solar Power Hour series again. Is this related to the Power Pack? Is it something we can be involved with or have team members present at?
A: Yes, the 2017 Minnesota Solar Power Hour program will be similar to last year’s Minnesota Power Pack program, with a few differences. Like last year, qualifying solar installers are invited to attend each of the sessions. This year, we are also opening the program to community solar developers, and qualifying firms are invited to attend as well. In addition, a customer discount is suggested this year, rather than required.
Q: Both the email and RFP specifically mention “Greater Twin Cities Area”. This appears to be a change from last year’s program which included Power Hours in Central & Northern MN. Will the presentations only be in the Twin Cities area?
A: Compared to last year, there will be a greater focus on the Twin Cities, though we will be doing presentations in other areas of the state as well. We will also work to arrange presentations in any cities in Minnesota that request them.
Q: Does one need to comply with a specific installed cost per watt? Are we to bid an installed cost per watt? I briefly looked at the RFP but did not see if costing were to be part of the evaluation process or not.
A: No cost per watt information is required. This program will involve multiple service providers, providing choice to participants. In this regards, we expect competitive pricing and are suggesting that participants consider a limited time discount for purchases during the program time period.
Q: I see you are starting Power Hours again in MN. Is that in connection with a buy down discount again with installers?
For this year’s program, a customer discount is recommended but not required. We expect competitive pricing and are suggesting that participants consider a limited time discount for purchases during the program time period.
Q: What does partnership involve?
A: Participation includes: 1) being listed in education materials, posters, and fliers as a partnering firm, 2) attending public presentations as available and networking with potential customers, 3) responding to customer inquiries as referred by MREA, and 4) exhibiting/sponsoring/presenting at the capstone public event, The Minnesota Energy Fair, taking place September 9-10, 2017 at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. (see www.TheEnergyFair.org).
Q: The RFP mentions that our main place of business be in Minnesota. We are based out of Michigan but service several states in the Midwest. We are specifically bidding several projects in Minnesota currently. Do we qualify, or is local residency simply give more points?
A: Yes, you would qualify with your active work in Minnesota, though preference may be given to firms with primary place of business located in Minnesota.
Q: Do you have an idea for how many businesses or nonprofits you expect to be involved in the Power Hours? Last year it seemed to be mostly residential folks. Any strategy change to entice more commercial property owners to be involved?
A: We do not currently have an estimate for business and nonprofit participation in this year’s program. At this point, we don’t have plans to make significant changes to the outreach strategy compared to last year, though we may consider greater commercial property outreach with future programs.