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Connecticut Clean Energy Fund PV Program Questions & Answers

QUESTION & ANSWERS

Question: Will projects that have a total project cost greater than $10 per watt installed be considered too expensive by the fund? Is there a maximum limit on total cost per installed system for proposed systems?

CCEF Answer: The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund will only provide up to six dollars per watt or 50% percent of the cost of the system, whichever is less. Should the cost of a system considerably exceed $10 per watt the concern that will arise is as to whether the applicant has obtained sufficient bids to get a truly competitive price and has proven sufficient financial resources to complete the project at the proposed cost. The higher the overall cost is beyond the group averages the more likely that the proposal could obtain lower scoring during the evaluation process.

Question: Does the Clean Energy Fund intend to support one or more projects greater than 25 kW in size, or is the fund focused on supporting a greater number of smaller, more distributed installations?

CCEF Answer: The CCEF Photovoltaic Program for Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Buildings does not have selection criteria associated with system size, either minimum requirements or maximum limitations. Projects will be evaluated according to how strongly they meet various program goals and will be selected from those that demonstrate meeting the most number of goals. Please refer to page 6 of the RFP for a listing of program goals.

Question: The Town of Fairfield is constructing a new compost facility at its Water Pollution Control Facility. We propose to install the 50 kW photovoltaic system on the roof. There will be an extra cost to design and construct the building to house the photovoltaic system on the roof. Can that extra cost be included as an eligible project cost in the RFP?

CCEF Answer: The CCEF Photovoltaic Program will pay six dollars per watt or 50% of the total system cost, whichever is less. Any extra costs associated with completing a project may not have any impact due to the six dollars per watt limitation. The individual project costs will be compared to all the other proposed projects. Any project whose specific cost breakdown substantially exceeds the averages will have CCEF exclude those deemed to be “excessive costs” excluded from the percentage of cost sharing calculation.

Question: Since we are looking for private and/or corporate financial assistance with this project, if letters of support are not ready for Feb. 28th can they be sent at a later point, perhaps by the end of March?

CCEF Answer: Due to the limited time from RFP submission on the 28th and evaluation and announcement of awards, applications should be complete in every respect when submitted. A proposal that does not provide adequate evidence of financial support to the project will be viewed less favorably than other projects.

Question: As for cost sharing, can donations to the project count such as materials, equipment and could faculty’s time be counted as part of the in-kind cost share? What if any are the cost sharing limitations?

CCEF Answer: Any materials, equipment or time that can be clearly demonstrated and whose true value can be easily confirmed may be counted and will be accepted in the overall project cost. While there are no cost sharing limitations, proposals with individual project costs that exceed the averages of all submitted proposals may be considered overages by CCEF and excluded from the percentage of cost sharing calculation.

Question: If there is a slight change from the preliminary proposal focus is this permissible and should this be discussed with you prior to submission in order to ensure that CCEF understands the change of plan?

CCEF Answer: A “slight” change from the preliminary proposal should not affect the eligibility of the project. Since the remaining timeframe of the RFP is relatively short, applicants will need to use their best judgment as to the degree of change. For instance, “slight” might mean a change in equipment, design or an insignificant change in size that does not significantly a modify the original concept of the project. Anything that would materially alter the pre-application proposal such as a change in location, use or purpose of the project could disqualify it from further consideration.

Question: If since submitting applications, our technical due diligence has uncovered information that would either change our original opinion of the manufacturer of choice, or its product, or has cast new light on a more favorable alternative, are applicants at liberty to vary from those providers stated in the application?

CCEF Answer: If a change of equipment or supplier does not significantly alter the proposed project, estimated costs or other aspects of the project, applicants may vary their supplier or manufacturers. It is noted that modules and systems must still conform to the approved list as detailed in the RFP document.

Question: Does the approved applicant have the liberty to allocate the originally requested funding to different functions within the accepted guidelines, e.g. PV roof need more reinforcement than first thought traded off with a smaller PV system at a higher $/W but still under 50% request to CCEF?
CCEF Answer: Applicants need to be careful in changing the fundamental project proposed in the pre-application process. “Slight” changes are acceptable but changes that significantly alter the essence of the original project proposed could result in the project being viewed less favorably. Applicants should explain the changes and provide justification for the changes.

Question: Are applicants allowed to increase (or decrease) the size of the PV systems and corresponding budget request within reason? If objectionable, can we adjust individual projects with multiple approved projects so that total funding adds up to the round one request?

CCEF Answer: Slight changes to the original pre-application are acceptable. However, applicants need to be careful in materially changing the aspects of the original proposal. Since multiple project locations cannot be combined and must have individual proposals submitted, combining or changing budgets or reallocating budgets from one project to support another project is not considered a slight change and could adversely affect the evaluation of your proposal.

Question: Please define the type of watt the $6/watt limit applies to. AC watts at STC, PTC or something else, or DC watts at STC- PTC or something else. Due to allowance of stand alone systems DC watts are recommended. Where are the watts measured – at the array or elsewhere?

CCEF Answer: The Watts are defined in Section III – Funding (Funding & Disbursement) and are listed as AC. Variances to this definition can be discussed after awards and during contract negotiations.

Question: Section III and Section VI (d) – Payment is made based on AC output production. In stand alone applications, DC is often the lowest cost, most efficient and preferred output. Why must the output monitoring be limited to AC?

CCEF Answer: CCEF will consider changes to this method of monitoring if proposed by awardees during contract negotiations and providing they can justify their request.

Question: The second payment is based upon a minimum 70% of forecasted amount. What happens if there is a major source of shading introduced by an independent party or simply an act of God, post contract, which adversely affects the performance of the system. Should there be an exclusion for such events?

CCEF Answer: We expect systems to be designed and located for the greatest amount of sunlight and located where they will produce the maximum production. Projects would not be considered properly situated if shading interferes with the efficient use of the PV. We believe that allowing for a 30% drop in production in the first year is a significant cushion for unforeseen circumstances and should not be a problem if projects are properly sited and equipment chosen wisely.

Question: RFP says PV systems that are eligible are those systems that have been approved by Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) Buildings Program. Upon review of the site, this approval only applies to grid connected systems – roof mounted systems and not ground or pole mounted or stand-alone systems. Other areas of the RFP allow for stand-alone and ground mounted systems. Please clarify.

CCEF Answer: Those systems that are grid-connected, roof-mounted systems will adhere to the FSEC approval clause. Other systems will fall under the subsequent sections covering PV Modules, Inverters or Minimum Standards.

Question: IEEE 929 is an interconnection requirement that only applies to grid-connected systems with emphasis on grid safety and availability. It is not usually applied to components or stand-alone systems.

CCEF Answer: For stand alone non-grid tied systems, this requirement will be waived. In the event it is waived, any other applicable standards may apply.

Question: Please define type of DC nameplate capacity. Is it a Standard Test Conditions or PVUSA Test Conditions? Is it measured at array output or elsewhere.

CCEF Answer: DC Nameplate capacity will be under STC at the array.