Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is seeking qualified firms to submit proposals for the design, procurement, and installation of new residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems at a per-watt price lower than the prevailing single system market rate.
The “group buy” program is being led by Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The goal of the program is to increase consumer education and PV installations in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties, WI, through a group purchase involving a competitive contractor selection process, an advantageous pricing and rebate structure, and free information sessions.
Between 2013 and 2020, the MREA facilitated 50 Solar Group Buy programs around the Midwest, reaching over 11,600 individuals with our Solar Power Hour information sessions, and leading to more than 17,400 kW on over 2,300 properties. Among those who attended our presentations, an average 20% purchased a PV system. To date, the average system size is 7.3 kW. A similar program in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties in 2021 resulted in 56 solar installations, and a program in Jefferson County in 2018 resulted in 18 solar installations.
The group buy program is offered with support from the MREA, Heart of the City, and the Waukesha County Green Team. The MREA will coordinate and deliver a minimum of 12 free, public Solar Power Hour information sessions and market them widely with physical posters, email blasts, paid social media promotion, in the press, and more. Depending on local public health conditions, presentations may be webinars or in person.
RFP Announced April 22, 2022
RFP Questions Due/Posted May 6, 2021
RFP Proposals Due May 13, 2021
Firm Selected May 27, 2021
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- The proposal states “Installations shall be completed and energized before December 31, 2022, unless an extension is granted by MREA”. What would justify an extension by MREA? Of particular concern are part availability and utility disconnects for solar interconnection. With customers being able to make a “Go” or “No Go” decision up until October 31, 2022, this leaves two months to install systems. The utility can take a couple weeks to approve the design of systems if there are not any issues and longer if there are. This leaves six weeks or less to acquire the necessary parts. Common parts can be anticipated and ordered in advance but more unique items can have delivery times of several months or more in the current market. The required utility disconnect necessary for installing a pv system can also have wait times well beyond one month in which case a system could not even be installed with the utility in the given window. Neither of these are in a solar pv contractors’ control or reflect their ability to install pv systems.
In our weekly team meetings we will continuously check in with the selected installer as to their projected remaining installation capacity for the calendar year. As the installer comes up against their installation capacity, we will communicate to program participants that contracts signed before X date or Y kW solar capacity are expected to be installed this calendar year, and contracts signed after that date or kW solar capacity are expected to be installed the following calendar year. Extensions would be granted on this basis, but installation timelines in customer contracts should still provide for production credits if delays result from installer’s failure to meet expectations. In other words, 2023 installations must still be performed in a timely manner.