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 La Crosse County, WI, through a group purchase involving a competitive contractor selection process, an advantageous pricing and rebate structure, and free information sessions.
Between 2013 and 2019, the MREA facilitated thirty-four Solar Group Buy programs around the Midwest, reaching over 8,000 individuals with our Solar Power Hour information sessions, and leading to more than 12,000 kW on over 1,600 properties. Among those property owners who received proposals from partnering contractors, an average 40% purchased a PV system. To date, the average system size is 7.15 kW.
The group buy program is offered with support from MREA, and the City of La Crosse, and La Crosse County. 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.
RFP Announced February 21, 2020
RFP Questions Due/Posted March 4, 2020
RFP Proposals Due March 13, 2020
Firm(s) Selected March 20, 2020
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- In section IX paragraph F the statement says “Pricing based solely on specific individual system size will not be considered.” This is how we currently bid our systems as a company however if this is not what you are looking for I understand and we can look at changing the quoting process for this project, however then below in the Adder section of Exhibit C it requests a typical small system adder and large system adder which seems contradictory with the original statement. Are you looking for our current adder for smaller and subtractor for larger systems? Certainly by not increasing the price for smaller systems we will cut into our margins as a company but on the other end by not decreasing the price for larger systems we will not be competitive for the customer?
We’re asking that proposers create pricing that is reflective of the custom nature of residential solar. In other words, we don’t want a one-size-fits-all pricing structure where everyone is given a quote for a 5kW system, for example.
- For customers who buy before the August 31st deadline and before the full results of the qty. of kW are seen do we reimburse that customer for the results of the program or is that their decision to buy early because I did see that in the RFP it states that most customers will buy at or after the August 31st deadline.
The cost savings apply to all who participate. The installer will be responsible for reimbursing customers who have paid in full for their system before subsequent program benchmarks and pricing tiers are achieved.
- What type of success have you seen from different programs similar to the La Crosse market? I did see that Eau Claire (similar to our market) had a lot of interest and the deadline was extended to November 11th but no real results of the program. I would be really curious of the results of the different programs.
In Central Wisconsin in 2019, our program resulted in 377 kW on 54 properties, and 144 people attended Solar Power Hours. In Sauk County in 2018, our program resulted in 436 kW on 66 properties, and 361 people attended Solar Power Hours. Despite reaching 141 individuals at Solar Power Hour presentations, the Solarize Eau Claire program in 2019 only resulted in 2 installations for a total of 10kW.
- There is a section asking for electrical licenses. We have two Master Electricians in Minnesota and One in Iowa. Do we count the Minnesota ones for this purpose?
Please only count staff whose job responsibilities will include work on the program.
- The production credit was not clear to me. It would be helpful to give a simple example of how this would work. What is the duration of the credit and does it matter when the customer actually signed a proposal to move forward?
Example: At the Solar Power Hour presentation, customers are told, “if you sign by this date, you will have your system installed before the end of the year.” A customer signs a contract with the expectation of installation being completed by the end of 2020. The solar installation company is experiencing delays, and their installation timeline is pushed into March of 2021. The production credit requires the solar installer to provide an invoice credit to the customer for January, February, and a pro-rated number of days in March, equivalent to the value of the estimated production on the customer’s system in the proposal/contract the installer provided to the customer.