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S -- NREL On-Site Photovoltaic (PV) Project Opportunity Announcement

Solicitation Number: Reference-Number-OSPV-06-06-07
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (DOE Contractor)
Location: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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There have been modifications to this notice. To view the most recent modification/amendment, click here
Added: June 6, 2007 Modified: June 25, 2007Track Changes
Modification to Opportunity Announcement:

The due date for responses to this announcment has been extended to August 3, 2007. Please note: any questions received to date, and any that may be forthcoming, will be answered at a future date prior to the REVISED due date of August 3, 2007. Also, please note that this announcement is not an RFP, all requirements for responding to this announcement are contained within the announcment below.

NREL On-Site Photovoltaic (PV) Project

Opportunity Announcement

June 6, 2007


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) located in Golden, Colorado and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Golden Field Office (GO) are seeking opportunities to collaborate with a solar energy project developer for the purpose of developing an on-site solar electricity generation project at NREL. Development of this project is encouraged by a utility incentive program that was implemented in Colorado for purposes of compliance with Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard (RES). The Colorado Legislature recently increased the RES to require higher percentages of solar electricity generation by qualifying retail utilities. Though not subject to the RES, DOE and NREL are customers of Xcel Energy, Inc. (Xcel), a major U.S. investor-owned electric and natural gas utility with regulated operations in Colorado that is subject to compliance with the RES. Prospective developers responding to this Opportunity Announcement must be willing to prepare and submit a proposal to Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards Program as a third-party developer for a customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) system at NREL.

Project Structure:

DOE and NREL expect the developer to be capable of designing, financing and installing a ground-mounted PV system that can produce a minimum of 1,200 MWH per year. The system will be located on Federal government property at NREL's South Table Mountain (STM) site in Golden, Colorado. Approximately five acres of land will be available for the project. In addition, DOE and NREL expect the developer to own, operate and maintain the PV system for at least twenty years. In addition to the ground-mounted system, other opportunities may exist to develop roof-mounted PV projects on existing DOE-owned buildings at NREL, as well as on buildings currently in the design phase for which construction has not yet begun.

Based on prior Xcel Request for Proposals (RFP), DOE and NREL anticipate that the financial structure for the project will include the following elements: (1) a 20-year power purchase agreement for DOE to purchase the entire electricity output of the PV system; (2) a one-time rebate payment from Xcel to the developer in the amount of $2.00 per watt for up to a maximum of 100 kW per system, payable upon confirmation of the Commercial Operation Date; (3) monthly payments from Xcel to the developer for all Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SO-RECs) generated for a 20-year period; and (4) any Federal or state tax credits for which the developer may be eligible.

Prospective developers must be willing to enter into specific agreements with various parties which may be involved in the successful execution of this project. These agreements include the following: (1) a no-cost easement with DOE for access to the land; (2) a power purchase agreement with the Western Area Power Administration (Western) for the electricity generated by the ground-mounted PV system; (3) a site use agreement with the NREL Division of the Midwest Research Institute for installation, operation and maintenance activities conducted at the site; (4) a third-party rebate contract with Xcel; and (5) a third-party SO-REC contract with Xcel for all SO-RECs generated.

Project Selection and Timing:

While no announcement has yet occurred for 2007, DOE and NREL expect Xcel to issue another RFP for customer-sited PV generating facilities above 100 kW and up to 2 MW DC under Xcel's Solar*Rewards Program. Typically, Xcel provides very short response times for proposal preparation after an RFP is released. In order to allow more time for developers to prepare a proposal for submission to Xcel, DOE and NREL intend to identify solar project developers prior to Xcel's release of an RFP. Because of the financial incentives offered through Xcel's Solar*Rewards Program, future execution of this project depends on the developer's proposal being selected by Xcel under an upcoming RFP.

Based on responses to this Opportunity Announcement, DOE and NREL intend to select two or three solar project developers. The selected developers will be given more detailed site information and a site tour for their use in preparing a more detailed proposal for submission to Xcel. DOE has begun an environmental assessment (EA) for this project pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The EA will be completed by DOE at no cost to the developer. DOE and NREL will allow the developers flexibility to decide the level of effort they wish to put into proposal preparation prior to issuance of an RFP by Xcel. All proposal preparation and development costs are to be borne by the developer. At such time as Xcel issues an RFP, DOE and NREL will ask the developers to submit their final proposals to DOE and NREL for review. Based on this review, DOE and NREL will cooperate to select one developer who will then submit its proposal to Xcel. All selection decisions will be final and are within the sole discretion of DOE and NREL.

Based on past experience, DOE and NREL expect that Xcel's process will be highly competitive and their selection criteria will be based largely on SO-REC price. Prospective developers are encouraged to create a financial structure for the project aimed at minimizing the SO-REC price and the price of electricity generated.

Response Requirements:

Response length is limited to two, double-sided pages, 8.5 in. x 11 in., with no smaller than 12 point font and 1 inch margins.

Responses shall include the following information:

Past Experience. DOE and NREL will consider past experience in financing, designing, installing, owning, operating, and maintaining PV systems of similar size and complexity. The developer must have experience with a minimum of one installed and operating PV system of at least 500 kW. If the developer forms a joint venture or other teaming arrangement, these same considerations will be applied to the parties to the joint venture or teaming arrangement cumulatively. Additional response information may be included such as:

(1) More extensive experience with PV projects, including projects under power purchase agreements.

(2) Experience with Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards Program.

(3) Experience with Federal government projects.

Pricing Approach. Explain the approach for minimizing the SO-REC price and the price of electricity generated.

Proposed PV System Technical Specifications. Describe the type of PV cells, efficiency, mounting, tracking method if used, interconnection plan, and recommended provisions to minimize PV system visibility (including light reflection) for the ground-mounted system.

Financial Capability. Provide verifiable information demonstrating that the developer is in sound financial condition and has the ability to secure the necessary financing to meet the project's requirements now and in the future. The developer's financial capability will be reviewed for stability and adequacy to meet its long-term capital and cash needs to own, operate, and maintain the PV system. If the developer is selected to submit its proposal to Xcel and plans to secure financing from an outside source, an official letter from the financier confirming the financial arrangement will be required.

PV Supply. If the developer is selected to submit its proposal to Xcel, the developer must provide a letter from its PV supplier and/or manufacturer substantiating the availability of PV modules for the project.

Response Submission:

Eight (8) paper copies and one digital copy as a single PDF file must be received by 4:00 PM Mountain Time, on July 3, 2007, at the address below.

Laura Hughes

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

M/S 1735

1617 Cole Blvd.

Golden, Colorado 80401-3393

Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Midwest Research Institute (DOE Contractor), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1617 Cole Boulevard, Golden, CO, 80401, UNITED STATES
National Renewable Energy Laboratory1617 Cole Boulevard
Golden, CO 80401
Laura Hughes, Senior Subcontract Administrator, Phone 303-384-7347, Fax 303-384-7310, Email - Laura Hughes, Senior Subcontract Administrator, Phone 303-384-7347, Fax 303-384-7310, Email