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 St. Louis (City and County) and St. Charles County, as well as Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair Counties (and other regional locations as may be decided) in Illinois, 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 forty-two Solar Group Buy programs around the Midwest, reaching over 10,000 individuals with our Solar Power Hour information sessions, and leading to more than 14,000 kW on over 1,900 properties. Among those who attended our presentations, an average 19.28% purchased a PV system. To date, the average system size is 7.24 kW. In this program, we anticipate an average system size of 5-6 kW on properties in the Missouri counties, and an average system size of 9-12 kW in the Illinois counties.
In Missouri, the group buy program is offered with support from MREA and Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) with high visibility in St. Louis city and county, and St. Charles County. In Illinois, the program is offered with support from Madison County Resource Management, Lewis & Clark Community College, Glen Carbon Cool Cities Committee, Godfrey Cool Cities Committee, Collinsville Cool Cities Committee, and the Sierra Club with high visibility in Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair Counties. MREA will coordinate and deliver a minimum of 30 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. Please note: as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we plan to offer all public presentations via webinar until it is safe to offer them in person again. Across all programs in 2020, we averaged 11 attendees per webinar presentation; in 2019, we averaged 12 attendees per in-person presentation.
Note: RFP updated January 5 to correct typographical errors in the due dates for questions and proposals.
RFP Announced January 4, 2021
RFP Questions Due/Posted January 18, 2021
RFP Proposals Due January 25, 2021
Firm(s) Selected February 8, 2021
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- The RFP says the program will be highly visible in several St. Louis metropolitan counties. How has the program increased visibility in these counties for 2021? What municipal or non-profit organizations are currently or being added as partners for 2021?
Program administrators have been discussing potential stories with local journalists and a podcaster. Additional nonprofit and/or municipal partners will be engaged as co-hosts as our team develops the Solar Power Hour schedule.
- What are MREA’s staffing plans to directly support and also market the likely very high volume of virtual Power Hours that are planned?
MREA has 3 full time staff on the Grow Solar Working Group, as well as two interns who will help staff our Solar Power Hour webinars.
- How many live or recorded viewers per Power Hour on average does MREA plan to deliver to achieve the program’s 1 MW sales goal with their marketing strategy?
Averaging 17 registrants and 11 attendees in 2020, we hope to increase those numbers through continuous improvements to our “co-host” strategy. From an attendee total of around 360 in 2020, 830 or so kW was contracted. Assuming this trend is linear, we need around 433+ attendees to contract 1,000 kW. Across 30 presentations, that’s between 14 and 15 attendees per presentation.