Low-Income Community Solar Pilot

Public Act 99-0906 was signed into law on December 7, 2016 and became effective June 1, 2017.  On December 4, 2017, the IPA submitted its Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (“Long-Term Plan”) to the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) pursuant to the provisions of Sections 1-56(b) and 1-75(c) of the Illinois Power Agency Act and Section 16-111.5 of the Public Utilities Act.  As approved by the ICC, the Long-Term Plan provides for a procurement of RECs from Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects under 15-year contracts.  Rather than applying to the Illinois Solar for All Program and receiving an administratively determined REC price (as is the case for the other Illinois Solar for All sub-programs), projects selected through the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot will receive a $/REC price determined through a competitive bidding process.  Payments will be made over the first 10 years of the contract.  Projects must result in economic benefits for the members of the community in which it is located and must include a partnership with at least one community-based organization.  Please refer to Section 8.6.4 of the Long-Term Plan for additional information.

Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Calendar (October 23, 2019)

Click here to view Low-Income Community Solar Pilot FAQs.

Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Results

 

Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP

FINAL Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Bidder Information Webcast

FINAL Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Documents

FINAL Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Final REC Contract

DRAFT Fall 2019 Standard Contract Form Comment Process

DRAFT Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot REC Contract

Comment Process on Preliminary Proposal Requirements, Key Contract Terms

Preliminary Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Bidder Information Webcast

Preliminary Proposal Requirements, Key Contract Terms, Indicative Schedule


Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot FAQs

FAQ-LIP-81
Q: If the applicable Net Metering Rate for a customer is $.0600 per kWh, are we required to sell to the customer at 50% of this value, or $.0300 per kWh? Where can I find more information?

Please see Section 5 Participant Savings Requirements in the Illinois Solar for All Program Vendor Manual. Sellers under the REC Contract must demonstrate that any ongoing costs and fees paid by the participant will not exceed 50% of the value of energy generated by the participant’s share of the PV system. The method for calculating savings will vary depending on several factors, including the contract terms, system design, customer rates, the applicable net metering tariff, as well as whether customers receive benefits through net metering or indirectly through other means.

The formula for calculating savings in dollars is based on subtracting the total costs and fees from the total energy value received by the customer.

Total Energy Value – Total Costs and Fees = Savings Dollars

The Savings is then calculated as a percentage of the Total Energy Value to establish a Percentage Savings, which must be at least 50% of the Total Energy Value.

Savings Dollars / Total Energy Value = Savings %

Section 5.4 Savings Calculations provides an example that has been adapted here to respond to the question by replacing the $.1248 per kWh, which is applicable to residential, Low-Income Distributed Generation customers only, with $.06 per kWh. Assume the project would produce 3,000 kWh in the first year and the applicable net metering rate is $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. The Total Energy Value is 3,000 kWh x $0.06/kWh = $180. In order for the year one Savings % to be greater than or equal to 50%, the Total Costs must less than or equal to $90 and the subscriber payment on a per kWh basis must be no greater than $0.03. If the subscriber payment on a per kWh basis is $0.03, the Total Costs is 3,000 kWh x $0.03/kWh = $90, the Total Savings Dollars is $180 – $90 = $90, and the Total Savings % is $90 / $180 = 50%.

In regards to ongoing subscriber payments, examples are provided in the Illinois Solar for All Program Vendor Manual.

In order to determine the applicable customer rate, please see Section 5.5 Determining the Energy Rate in the Illinois Solar for All Program Vendor Manual. For residential, Low-Income Community Solar customers, that do not use an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES) and are not enrolled in an hourly pricing program, a statewide, average rate of $.0600 (6 cents) per kWh is used. For customers using an ARES or enrolled in an hourly pricing program, and for Non-Profit/Public Facilities customers, an average rate based on 12 months of customer bills must be used. This method may also be used for any customer to provide a more accurate projection of cost and savings.

When establishing the Net Metering Rate using customer bills, the most recent 12 months of bills should be used. For Low-Income Community Solar residential customers, only the Supply rate is averaged over 12 months.

In general, the intent is that an accurate projection of the customer’s Net Metering Rate should be used in calculating bill credits and savings.  If the net metering rate determined using the most recent 12 months of bills is more accurate than using the statewide, average rate of $.0600 then that value should be used whether or not it is higher.

If the subscriber is served by an ARES the bidder may want to confirm with the ARES the rate at which community solar net metering credits are provided. It may not be the same as their Supply rate.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-80
Q: Can we determine the Net Metering Rate for a customer using the most recent 12 months of bills even if the resulting figure is different from the statewide, average rate of $0.0600 (6 cents) per kWh? Where can I find more information?

Please see Section 5.5 Determining the Energy Rate in the Illinois Solar for All Program Vendor Manual. For residential, Low-Income Community Solar customers that do not use an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES), and are not enrolled in an hourly pricing program, a statewide, average rate of $.0600 (6 cents) per kWh is used. For customers using an ARES or enrolled in an hourly pricing program, and for Non-Profit/Public Facilities customers, an average rate based on 12 months of customer bills must be used. This method may also be used for any customer to provide a more accurate projection of cost and savings.

When establishing the Net Metering Rate using customer bills, the most recent 12 months of bills should be used. For Low-Income Community Solar residential customers, only the Supply rate is averaged over 12 months.

In general, the intent is that an accurate projection of the customer’s Net Metering Rate should be used in calculating bill credits and savings.  If the net metering rate determined using the most recent 12 months of bills is more accurate than using the statewide, average rate of $.0600 then that value should be used whether or not it is higher.

If the subscriber is served by an ARES the bidder may want to confirm with the ARES the rate at which community solar net metering credits are provided. It may not be the same as their Supply rate.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-79
Q: If a Seller posts its performance assurance under the REC Contract within a few days of executing the REC Contract, will the letter of credit submitted as bid assurance collateral be cancelled?

Yes. The process for cancellation will be provided to bidders by the Procurement Administrator along with other post-procurement documents.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-78
Q: Is bidder training a webinar? When will the Procurement Administrator provide information about the training?

The Procurement Administrator provided information about the training session to all bidders in the notification of qualification sent on November 19, 2019.  Furthermore, the Procurement Administrator sent an announcement before the training detailing the steps that each bidder would go through to submit its Bid Form.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-77
Q: In the bid form, we need to give a price per REC and specify a minimum capacity for each project. Are we allowed to give one price for the minimum capacity and a different price for the full nameplate capacity?

No. You are not allowed to provide different prices for the full project size and the minimum capacity.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-76
Q: Our second Community-Based Organization (“CBO”) is a municipality. What do we need to provide for the CBO to be considered?

Government entities, such as a city, are not eligible to serve as a CBO under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP. This extends to the period when the REC Contract is in effect. For purposes of participation in the RFP, only one CBO will be considered and evaluated.

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-75
Q: How is degradation accounted for in the formula for Expected Output (RECs), column G, in the Bid Form and in the REC Contract?

Degradation is not accounted for in the formula to calculate Expected Output (RECs). The Expected Output (RECs), column G, is used to calculate the Cost of Expected Output ($), column H. The sum of the Cost of Expected Output ($) across all of your Projects for which you submit a Bid cannot exceed the budget of $20,000,000. The formulas in the Bid Form are not subject to change.

For purposes of the REC Contract, the Maximum Contract Value, the maximum monetary amount that can be paid to Seller by Buyer, is calculated as the multiplicative product of: the Purchase Price and the result obtained by multiplying (i) the Proposed Nameplate Capacity in MW; (ii) the Standard Capacity Factor; (iii) 100% subscription rate; (iv) 8,760 hours; and (v) 15 years, then rounded down. This formula also does not account for degradation and Bidders may choose to take this calculation into account when determining their Bid for a Project.

The REC Contract is available on the Final Materials subpage here:

https://www.ipa-energyrfp.com/community-solar-pilot/final-materials/

12-11-2019

FAQ-LIP-74
Q: Is the bid form we submit during bidder training evaluated?

Bidder training is organized for bidders to practice all aspects of the bid submission procedure to be used on the bid date. Bid forms submitted during bidder training are not evaluated.  We recommend that bidders practice filling out the bid form during bid training.

The bidder can leave blank the Certification on the “General Information” tab during bidder training if the bidder does not feel comfortable submitting a completed bid form during bidder training. Please note, however, that this Certification must be fully completed in the bid form submitted during bid date for the bid form to be valid.

12-10-2019

FAQ-LIP-73
Q: What is the supplier fee under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

The exact amount of the supplier fee will be announced no later than two (2) business days before the Bid Date.

12-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-72
Q: Can we replace the text “New York law” in Paragraph 10 of the Standard IPA Pre-Bid Letter of Credit to reference the state in which our company and/or our bank is located?

Bidders must use the Standard IPA Pre-Bid Letter of Credit provided as Appendix 5 to the RFP Rules or include only modifications approved by the IPA and posted to the procurement website. The IPA Standard Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is posted under the heading FINAL Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Documents on the Final Materials page and is dated November 21, 2019.

Replacing the text “New York law” in Paragraph 10 of the IPA Standard Pre-Bid Letter of Credit to refer to a different state is not an acceptable modification posted to the procurement website.

12-03-2019

FAQ-LIP-71
Q: Is depositing funds into an escrow account an acceptable form of Bid Assurance Collateral?

Depositing funds into an escrow account is not an acceptable form of Bid Assurance Collateral. Bidders must use the Standard IPA Pre-Bid Letter of Credit provided as Appendix 5 to the RFP Rules or include only modifications approved by the IPA and posted to the procurement website. The IPA Standard Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is posted under the heading FINAL Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP Documents on the Final Materials page and is dated November 21, 2019.

12-03-2019

FAQ-LIP-70
Q: What happens if our banking information changes after we have submitted the Contract Insert (#P2-2) to the Procurement Administrator?

If you have bids identified by the Procurement Administrator as winning bids to the Commission, the Procurement Administrator will contact you and you will have an opportunity to update information on the Contract Insert at that time.   If the banking information provided in the Contract Insert (#P2-2) is no longer accurate following the execution of the REC Contract, the Seller can provide written notice to the IPA to update the banking information.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-69
Q: The capacity factor that we provided in the Part 1 Proposal is not longer valid. What is the procedure to update this information?

If any information provided in the Part 1 Proposal for a Project changes or any previous certification fails to remain valid you must notify the Procurement Administrator.  In the case of the capacity factor for a Project, please advise the Procurement Administrator of the new capacity factor, please provide your calculation of the annual number of RECs from the Project using this capacity factor, and please request that the Procurement Administrator re-issue your Bid Form.  Any such notice to the Procurement Administrator related to the capacity factor must be made no later than two business days prior to the Bid Date.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-68
Q: What is the deadline for a Seller to post Performance Assurance if its Project is selected by the evaluation and is approved by the Commission?

The Seller has thirty business days from the Commission decision to fully execute the REC Contract. The Commission decision is expected to take place on Thursday, December 19, 2019 so that each Seller with a Project selected by the evaluation and approved by the Commission would have until Tuesday, February 4, 2020 to post Performance Assurance.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-67
Q: What is the deadline for a Seller to execute the REC Contract if its Project is selected by the evaluation and is approved by the Commission?

The Seller has three business days from the Commission decision to fully execute the REC Contract. The Commission decision is expected to take place on Thursday, December 19, 2019 so that each Seller with a Project selected by the evaluation and approved by the Commission would have until Tuesday, December 24, 2019 to fully execute the REC Contract.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-66
Q: Can the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit be drawn upon if a Seller does not sign the REC Contract after its Project is selected by the evaluation and is approved by the Commission?

Paragraph 2 of the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit provides all of the conditions under which the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit will be drawn upon.  These conditions include as item c): ““Seller has failed to execute the applicable supplier contract for a Project within three (3) business days of being notified that the Illinois Commerce Commission has approved the bid for that Project or has failed to meet the creditworthiness requirements of the applicable supplier contract within thirty (30) business days of such Illinois Commerce Commission decision”.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-65
Q: Is the original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit due by December 4 with the other components of the Part 2 Proposal? If we submit a scan of the original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit, does this satisfy the requirement?

The original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit must be delivered by overnight delivery service to the IPA according to the instructions provided by the Procurement Administrator.  The Pre-Bid Letter of Credit and all other components of the Part 2 Proposal (except the bids) are due by 12 PM (noon) CPT on December 4, 2019.

If the original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is not received by the IPA by the deadline stated, the Part 2 Proposal is incomplete.  If a scan of the original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is submitted to the Procurement Administrator, this document will be evaluated but the Part 2 Proposal will be considered incomplete until the original and executed Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is received by the IPA.  If the Part 2 Proposal (excluding Bids) is incomplete or requires clarification, the Procurement Administrator sends a deficiency notice to the bidder. The bidder has until 12 PM (noon) on the Part 2 Date, or until 6 PM on the second business day following the business day during which a first deficiency notice is sent to the bidder, whichever comes later, to respond.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-64
Q: What is the correct expiration date for the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit? The Standard Pre-Bid Letter of Credit has been prepopulated with January 9, 2020 in Paragraph 1. However, the expiration date provided on page 14 of the RFP Rules is February 6, 2020.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The correct expiration date for the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit is February 6, 2020. A revised version of Appendix 5 IPA Standard Pre-Bid Letter of Credit with the correct expiration date was sent to all bidders on November 21 and was posted at that time to the procurement website.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-63
Q: Is cash an acceptable form of bid assurance collateral under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

Bid assurance collateral must be provided in the form of a letter of credit.  The Standard form of the Pre-Bid Letter of Credit and the list of acceptable modifications that can be adopted on an optional basis are posted to the procurement website (https://www.ipa-energyrfp.com/community-solar-pilot/final-materials/ see Appendix 5 to the RFP Rules).

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-62
Q: In the Bid Form, is the REC output over the term of the REC Contract just the annual output times 15?

In the Bid Form, the annual REC output is calculated using the standard capacity factor or the capacity factor provided by the bidder in the Part 1 Proposal.  The REC output over the term of the REC Contract is the annual REC output times 15.

11-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-61
Q: We are asked in the Part 1 Proposal to specify whether the Project is at least 50% owned by subscribers. Is a subscriber agreement adequate of proof of ownership of the Project by a subscriber? Can our partner community-based organization have the ownership stake on behalf of the low-income residential customers who are subscribers? What documents do we need to provide to comply with this item?

A subscriber agreement is not proof of ownership of the Project.  A subscriber agreement is merely proof that a low-income residential customer or a community-based organization is a “subscriber” and thus receives a credit for the value of the electricity generated by the Project.  A subscriber agreement would not, in the usual course of events, also include proof that the subscriber has an ownership stake in the Project.  Additional documentation is thus required for the purpose of demonstrating an ownership stake.  The Procurement Administrator expects such additional documentation (i) to show that ownership of a portion of the Project was granted or transferred to the subscriber; (ii) to specify the subscriber’s ownership stake in kWs or as a percentage of the capacity of the Project; and (iii) to describe the benefits of ownership for the subscriber, such as a share of the revenue from the sale of RECs, tax credits, or other rebates and incentives.

For purposes of meeting the standard that the Project is at least 50% owned by subscribers, community-based organizations are limited to a 40% ownership share so that 10% (or more) of the Project must be owned on an individual basis by low-income residential subscribers.  Thus, for the purpose of the subscriber-owned determination it is not acceptable that only the partner community-based organization have ownership of the Project.

Please note the participation in the Low-Income Community Renewable Solar Pilot RFP does not require that the Project be partially or entirely owned by subscribers.  Subscriber ownership is not a qualification requirement for the Project to be qualified to be bid in the procurement event.

The purpose of optionally demonstrating subscriber ownership is that if a Project is at least 50% owned by subscribers, the bid evaluation procedure recognizes that the Project fulfills a priority specified in the Act.  Generally, the bid evaluation selects a cost-effective group or “bundle” of Projects that does not exceed the Budget and that satisfies the priorities of the Act not to distribute funding only to utility projects and to select a Project at least 50% owned by subscribers if one is available.  The evaluation appendix with the details of the bid evaluation procedure will be posted shortly to the procurement website.

If your Project is at least 50% owned by subscribers, to demonstrate that this is the case, you are required to provide:

  • The list of subscribers with Project ownership, including the name and address of each subscriber. The address of each subscriber, for this purpose, must be within the community;
  • Documents to substantiate ownership of the Project by the subscribers; and
  • Income-verification for each residential low-income subscriber.

Upon request, the Procurement Administrator will provide the documents that are acceptable for income-verification purposes.

If the Proposal for the Project specifies that it is at least 50% subscriber owned, then this ownership structured must be maintained during the delivery term under the REC Contract.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-60
Q: Who can be a subscriber under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP? Do we receive a credit if 100% of the Project is subscribed by low-income subscribers? How does this requirement compare to other sub-programs under Illinois Solar for All?

There are no adders or additional credit for a Project that is 100% subscribed by low-income subscribers.

Under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP, a subscriber to the Project must be either: a residential low-income customer residing in the community in which the Project is located; or: a community-based organization located in the community in which the Project is located.   Additionally, a subscriber must be a retail customer that receives net metering from the interconnection electric utility for the Project.  A subscription must be of no less than 200 watts and must be no more than 40% of the Project’s capacity.

As the Procurement Administrator for only this sub-program, we cannot speak to the rules and requirements of other Illinois Solar for All sub-programs; this response speaks only to the requirements of the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-59
Q: I requested login credentials but have not received them yet. Should I re-submit my request?

If you have requested login credentials but believe you have not yet received this information, you may re-submit your request by clicking “Request Login Credentials” on the Contact Us page of the procurement website.

Alternatively, you may also contact the Procurement Administrator at Illinois-RFP@nera.com.  In your request, please include the following:

  • Company name;
  • Full name of contact;
  • The best number at which to reach you;
  • Email address;
  • Name of the RFP for which you’re requesting login credentials;
  • The number of Projects (if applicable)
11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-58
Q: Will the RECs from a Project that signs the REC Contract under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Program be transferred to the IPA or the subscribers?

Under the REC Contract for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Program, the RECs from the Project are transferred to the Illinois Power Agency under a standing order.

11-18-2019

The Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Program is one of the four sub-programs of the Illinois Solar for All program. As approved by the ICC, the Long-Term Plan provides for a procurement of RECs from Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects under 15-year contracts.  Rather than applying to the Illinois Solar for All Program and receiving an administratively determined REC price (as is the case for the other Illinois Solar for All sub-programs), projects selected through the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot will receive a $/REC price determined through a competitive bidding process.  Payments will be made over the first 10 years of the contract.

The qualification standards for new pilot solar low-income community renewable energy projects are modeled on the requirements of the Illinois Solar for All Program.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-56
Q: What documentation for site control should I provide if I have a rooftop project?

For a rooftop project, the bidder must provide a document that shows that the bidder has the right to install the project on the rooftop of the building.  Such a document would be an agreement between the bidder and the owner of the building on the roof of which the project will be installed.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-55
Q: Can outreach efforts be planned to take place after the submission of the Proposal or must such efforts have already taken place?

Outreach efforts cannot be planned to take place after submission of the Proposal.  They must have occurred as of the date at which the Part 1 Proposals are due.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-54
Q: What happens if the Project is not at least 50% subscribed at the end of the 18-month development period? Will the IPA cancel the Project?

First, as a condition for the Project to be considered energized, at least 50% of the nameplate capacity of the Project must be subscribed. Under the REC Contract, the energization deadline may be extended beyond the 18-month development period under certain circumstances (please see the REC Contract for details). Second, once the Project is energized, RECs generated from the Project will be delivered to the IPA’s account by automatic transfer via a standing order. Once a REC is delivered via the standing order, such REC is the property of the IPA and will not be returned to the Seller regardless of whether such REC is eligible for payment or not. Third, payments made during a delivery year are subject to an annual true-up payment adjustment to ensure that payment is made only for RECs that are delivered and attributable to subscribed shares. While the IPA will not cancel the Project if the subscription falls below 50% during a delivery year during the term of the REC Contract, please note that the Seller will not be paid for any RECs that are delivered but not attributable to subscribed shares.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-53
Q: Must the first-year net metering value in the savings calculation use $0.06/kWh as the supply rate or can the calculation be based on a customer’s actual utility bill?

The first-year net metering value used in the savings calculation must be based on either (i) an average statewide supply rate of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour or (ii) an average of the customer’s 12 most recent monthly utility bills.  Please refer to FAQ #LIP-43 and more generally see Section 4(d) of the Cover Sheet of the REC Contract.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-52
Q: Can I submit a Part 1 Proposal after 12 PM (noon) on the Part 1 Date?

No late Part 1 Proposals can be accepted under any circumstances.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-51
Q: What is meant by the operating boundaries of a community-based organization (“CBO”)?

Generally, the “community” is geographically defined by the operating boundaries of the CBO.  Thus, the community associated with the Project is identified with the area and the group of residents to whom the CBO is providing programs and services.  Additionally, the bidder may elect to define the community associated with the Project to be an area smaller and entirely contained within the operating boundaries of the CBO.

Please note the following restrictions:

  • The community cannot be identified as the entire State of Illinois; and
  • The community cannot be identified as the entire city of Chicago.

Thus, for example, if the operating boundaries of a CBO consist of the entire city of Chicago, the bidder must define the community to be a smaller area within the city of Chicago within which: (i) the Project will be located and (ii) the CBO provides programs and service to residents.

11-18-2019

A bidder must provide a description of the programs and services offered by the CBO.  The description should be of actual programs and services offered, which may or may not include programs and services related to renewable energy.

The bidder may provide its own description of these programs and services. Alternatively, the bidder can provide documents produced by the CBO that includes such a description.

11-18-2019

FAQ-LIP-49
Q: Can you provide an explanation on the method of distributing energy from the system to residents?

Pursuant to Section 1-10 of the IPA Act, a community renewable energy generation project must be a project that “credits the value of electricity generated by the facility to the subscribers of the facility.” Under this arrangement, the interconnecting electric utility of the Project is the entity to provide net metering credits to a prospective subscriber under Section 16-107.5(l) of the Public Utilities Act. Please consult with the interconnecting electric utility for information on its procedures regarding how it credits net metering credits to a prospective subscriber.  Please note that payment under the REC Contract is for RECs that are delivered and that are attributable to subscribed shares only.

11-12-2019

FAQ-LIP-48
Q: What is the budget for this procurement event under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

The procurement event has a budget of $20 million over the 15-term of the REC Contract.

11-12-2019

FAQ-LIP-47
Q: Can a bidder develop more than one project in a partnership with the same community-based organization (“CBO”) and thus submit more than one Proposal with a given CBO?

A bidder can submit more than one Proposal with a given CBO.

11-12-2019

FAQ-LIP-46
Q: Are projects selected under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP eligible for the smart inverter rebate?

The same eligibility requirements for the smart inverter rebate applicable to the Low-Income Community Solar Project Initiative subprogram under the ILSfA would apply to Projects selected through the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP as well.  Please note that for ComEd, the rebate applies only to projects up to 2 MW (AC rating).  For Ameren Illinois, the rebate applies to the portion of the system that is 2 MW or less.

11-12-2019

FAQ-LIP-45
Q: Are projects selected under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP eligible for small subscriber adders?

The procurement event is for the procurement for RECs that are delivered and attributable to subscribed shares of the Project that has been selected for an award. Under the REC Contract, the purchase price per REC is based on the price in the bid and no additional adders are included.

11-12-2019

FAQ-LIP-44
Q: For a project already in operation, what should we include in the price for our bid?

Please note that a project must be a “new”, which means that the date of final interconnection approval did not occur before June 1, 2017. Under the REC Contract, the purchase price per REC is based on the price in the bid. The Procurement Administrator cannot comment on what you include or take into account in formulating the price in your bid.

11-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-43
Q: What are the cost savings that must be offered to subscribers of the project?

Please see Section 4(d) of the Cover Sheet of the REC Contract, which states that: “any ongoing first-year payments …by a Subscriber do not exceed 50% of the expected first-year net metering value to be received by the Subscriber… and any ongoing participation payments over the entire term of a Subscriber’s Subscription agreement do not exceed 50% of the expected total net metering value over that same term.”

Under these provisions, ongoing subscription payments (on an annualized basis) by a customer cannot exceed 50% of expected first-year net metering value.  This requirement applies to the first year of the REC Contract.  This requirement also applies to an annual average for (i) the life of the customer’s subscription contract or (ii) in the case of a system share purchase, for 25 years.  The following assumptions are used for purposes of these calculations (and for purposes of these calculations only):

  • A standard annual production degradation rate of 0.5%;
  • An annual energy price escalation rate of up to 1.7%;
  • The annual customer payment rate escalation cannot exceed the energy escalation rate;
  • The first-year net metering value used in the savings calculation must be based on either (i) an average statewide supply rate of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour or (ii) an average of the customer’s 12 most recent monthly utility bills.
11-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-42
Q: What percentage of the capacity must be allocated to subscribers?

Under the REC Contract, to be considered “energized”, at least 50% of the nameplate capacity of the project must be subscribed (i.e., attributed to subscribed shares). A subscriber must receive net metering and must be (i) a residential low-income customer residing in the community where the project is located or (ii) a community-based organization approved by the IPA under the REC Contract.

11-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-41
Q: In the Second Item of Section 3, a bidder has the option to define the community associated with the Project to be an area smaller and entirely contained within the operating boundaries of the CBO. I selected “No” and was asked additional questions instead of being invited to continue to the next item of the Part 1 Proposal. Can you confirm that we are understanding the requirements correctly?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Your understanding of the requirements is correct and the online Part 1 Form has now been corrected so that selecting “No” will move you to respond to the next item in the online Part 1 Form.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-40
Q: Can the Seller named in the Part 1 Proposal be changed at a later time?

No, the entity named as the Seller in the Part 1 Proposal cannot be changed.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-39
Q: Can a bidder submit proposals for multiple projects?

A bidder may present proposals for multiple projects.  Each project will be presented in a separate proposal.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-38
Q: Can you please confirm that a project for which a proposal is presented under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP can exceed 2 MW (AC rating) in size?

Projects for which proposals are presented under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP may exceed 2 MW (AC rating) in size.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-37
Q: How does the evaluation of bids proceed? Is it a point-based assessment based on the proposal submitted for the project?

The proposal for a project will be assessed for its compliance with the requirements of the RFP on a pass or fail basis.  If a project meets these requirements, then the bid for the project will be evaluated.

The evaluation of bids will not feature a points-based system.  Rather, the evaluation of bids first eliminates bids that fail to meet or beat the benchmarks.  Benchmarks are established by the Procurement Administrator, in consultation with the IPA, the Procurement Monitor, and the ICC Staff.   The benchmarks are confidential and subject to review and approval by the Commission.  Second, bids that meet or beat the benchmarks are ranked in order of price per REC.  Third, the evaluation considers specific priorities, namely that: (i) the amount paid per project may not exceed $20,000,000; (ii) available funding may not be distributed solely to a utility; (iii) a project at least 50% owned by subscribers should be selected if available.  Furthermore, the budget for the procurement event is $20,000,000 (over the 15-year contract period) and cannot be exceeded.  Further details on the evaluation as well as examples will provided in an appendix to the RFP Rules to be released shortly.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-36
Q: Is there a portion of the budget that is required to go to a project that is at least 50% owned by subscribers?

While the evaluation of bids will consider that a project at least 50% owned by subscribers should be selected if available, there is no portion of the budget that is set aside for such projects.  The Procurement Administrator will release shortly an appendix to the RFP Rules that will provide additional details on the evaluation as well as examples.  The Procurement Administrator will send an announcement when this appendix is posted to the procurement website.

11-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-35
Q: Can you please provide the Taxpayer Identification Number Form?

Attached is the Taxpayer Identification Number Form. This document is posted to the Final Materials page of the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot section of the procurement website as Exhibit K.5 of the Illinois State Requirements. The Illinois State Requirements is available under the purple header “Fall 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Final REC Contract”.

11-04-2019

FAQ-LIP-34
Q: The Part 1 Proposal requires a copy of the submitted interconnection application. Is it sufficient to have a signed interconnection application that is to be submitted by the due date?

It is unclear what you mean by the “due date” in your question.  A project that does not have a signed interconnection agreement must provide a copy of the submitted interconnection application.  (There are additional requirements that apply to such projects including providing a list of required non-ministerial permits, documents to show site control, and letters of intent from lenders or equity partners to cover 30% of the financing for the project.  Please see the requirements in Section IV.4 of the RFP Rules).

10-30-2019

FAQ-LIP-33
Q: Can a religious organization qualify as a community-based organization? What information must be provided regarding this organization?

A religious organization can qualify as a community-based organization (“CBO”) for purposes of presenting a proposal for a project under the Low-Income Solar Pilot RFP.

A CBO is an existing non-profit organization that provides programs and services within the community where the proposed project is or will be located. In the proposal for a project, the bidder is asked to identify a single CBO involved in the project and the bidder is asked to provide:

  • The name and address of the CBO;
  • A description of the programs and services offered by the CBO;
  • The CBO’s operating boundaries (describing the group of residents and the area over which the CBO is providing programs and services), which will define the “community”;
  • The CBO’s IRS Form 990 from 2017 or 2018; and
  • A letter from a representative of the CBO as evidence of the partnership of the bidder with the CBO for purposes of developing the project.

These requirements are further described in Section IV.3 of the RFP Rules.

10-30-2019

FAQ-LIP-32
Q: Is a bidder that submits a Part 1 Proposal for one or more Projects under any obligation to submit a Part 2 Proposal for these Projects?

A bidder that submits a Part 1 Proposal for a project is not required to submit a Part 2 Proposal for that Project. Please note, however, that the payment of a Bid Participation Fee of $500 is required with the Part 1 Proposal and this Bid Participation Fee is non-refundable.  A single Bid Participation Fee is required even a bidder presents Proposals for multiple projects.

10-30-2019

FAQ-LIP-31
Q: Can a governmental organization or a “for profit” organization qualify as a community-based organization (“CBO”)?

A CBO must be an existing non-profit organization that provides programs and services within the community where the proposed project is or will be located.  For profit entities are not eligible.

10-30-2019

FAQ-LIP-30
Q: Where can I find the recording for the bidder information webcast held on October 23, 2019 for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

The Procurement Administrator has posted the presentation slides and audio recording from the bidder information webcast held on October 23, 2019, to the Final Materials page of the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot section of the procurement website.

10-30-2019

FAQ-LIP-29
Q: Is a bidder required to have filed an application for interconnection as of the date of submission of the Part 1 Proposal in order to participate?

The requirements have not been posted in final form.  At this time, we anticipate that the application for interconnection would be required to have been filed with the electric utility, a municipal utility, a public utility, or an electric cooperative as of the date of submission of the Part 1 Proposal.  In addition, the following documents are required if the interconnection agreement is not available for the Project:

  • A description of how the Project will be financed;
  • Letter(s) of intent from lenders or equity partners to cover 30% of the project financing; and
  • Documentation for site control for an area in acres of at least 3 times the Project size in MW (AC rating).

The final RFP Rules and documents, including the proposal requirements, will be posted by Tuesday, October 22, 2019.

09-27-2019

FAQ-LIP-28
Q: How will the Procurement Administrator select between tied Bids?

The details of the evaluation procedure will be provided in the RFP Rules, which are scheduled to be posted by October 22, 2019. RFP documents, including the RFP Rules, will be posted to the Final Materials page of the dedicated Low-Income Community Solar Pilot section of the procurement website.

09-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-27
Q: I have multiple projects. Do I submit one bid for all my projects, or do I submit multiple bids, one for each project? Are multiple projects from the same Bidder selected as a package or are they evaluated separately?

It is anticipated that a bidder would submit a single proposal for one or more low-income community projects. Each project’s qualifications are evaluated separately so that the bidder may be able to submit a bid for some or all of the projects presented in the proposal.  The bidder would submit a bid, or REC price, for each project separately.  The bids for such projects would be evaluated separately so that none, some, or all of the projects may be selected.

08-26-2019

FAQ-LIP-25
Q: Does subscriber ownership increase the score for my Project?

There is no scoring of Projects. Projects presented in the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP will be required to meet qualification standards under the Proposal process. Bidders with Project(s) that meet the standards can submit Bids and generally, the lowest-priced Projects will be selected subject to certain constraints as described further below and may be taken out of price order in limited circumstances.

Specifically, the lowest-priced Projects that satisfy the following constraints will be selected:

  • The total cost of all Projects does not exceed a “Budget” announced by the IPA. The cost of each Project is calculated using the Bid price, a 15-year contract term, and using a quantity set on the basis of the standard capacity factor and the size of the Project in MW (AC rating). The Budget is expected to be below $50M.
  • The cost of any single Project does not exceed $20M.
  • The Budget cannot be entirely spent on Projects presented by utilities.
  • A portion of the Budget must go toward a Project that is at least 50% owned by its subscribers. If there is no such Project, a portion of the Budget may be withheld for a subsequent procurement.

As stated in the fourth bullet above, a portion of the Budget must go toward a Project that is at least 50% owned by its subscribers. This means that at least one (1) project that is at least 50% owned by its subscribers must be selected in order for the entire budget for the procurement of RECs to be used. For example, if there is funding sufficient for only 1 project and the project with the lowest-price is not at least 50% owned by its subscribers, the evaluation may feature the selection of a higher price project that is at least 50% owned by its subscribers, which will be taken out of price order in order for the entire budget to be spent.

08-21-2019

FAQ-LIP-24
Q: What is the meaning of “a portion of the Budget” in the third bullet on slide 23 of the webcast held on July 31?

The Budget refers to the overall budget that is set aside for the procurement. Public Act 99-0906 provides that at least some funds set aside for the procurement must go toward a project that includes “community ownership by the project subscribers.” For purposes of the RFP, we require that at least some of the budget go toward a project that is at least 50% owned by its subscribers; and that if no such project exists, some of the budget will be withheld.

08-21-2019

FAQ-LIP-23
Q: Does the Procurement Administrator provide a suggested REC price or a preferred range?

The Procurement Administrator does not have a suggested REC price or a preferred range.

The price per REC in a Bid for the RECs from a Project should be the Bidder’s best offer. The price in the REC Contract will be the Bidder’s bid price for eligible RECs of the Project and will be fixed throughout the term of the REC Contract.

08-21-2019

FAQ-LIP-22
Q: Can projects located in the same area but on non-contiguous sites be aggregated together to form a larger project?

It is unlikely for projects located on non-contiguous sites to be considered a single project. Notwithstanding, if the “larger project” meets the following requirements for a project, it may be presented as a single project in a single Proposal. A project has or will have:

  • a single interconnection point;
  • a single revenue quality meter that satisfies the requirements of the applicable distribution company, and that measures or will measure its generation output; and
  • a single account registered with PJM EIS GATS or M-RETS.
08-15-2019

FAQ-LIP-20
Q: Is a Bidder allowed to submit multiple Projects with different Sellers?

The Bidder is the entity that submits the Proposal in the RFP. A Bidder may submit a response to this RFP for one or more low-income community projects.  The Seller is the counterparty under the REC Contract with the obligation to perform under the REC Contract. The Seller has the obligation to complete the development of the project and must have the rights to transfer the ownership of the RECs to Buyer under the REC Contract. The Seller may or may not be the same entity as the Bidder.

08-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-19
Q: What cost will the Supplier Fee have on a Bidder?

Projects with winning Bids approved by the Commission will be assessed a Supplier Fee per REC that reflects the cost of conducting the procurement event. The exact amount of the Supplier Fee per REC will be announced prior to the Bid Date.  An estimate of the Supplier Fee is expected to be provided on the webcast scheduled for October 24, 2019.

08-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-18
Q: How is the amount of bid assurance collateral determined?

A participant is required to submit bid assurance collateral to support its bids on all its Projects in the form of a letter of credit sent directly to the IPA. Additional information including the required amount of the bid assurance collateral will be provided as it becomes available.

08-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-17
Q: Can the description of how the Project will be financed, as well as information about the lenders and equity partners provided by Bidder in its Part 1 Proposal, be modified as the project evolves?

The program requirements have not yet been finalized at this time.  It is expected that changes to the financing plan could be accepted under certain circumstances and provided that similar assurances are provided to ensure the project development viability. At this time, if a signed Interconnection Agreement is not available for the Project, the Bidder is expected to provide the following documentation in its Part 1 Proposal:

  • A copy of the Interconnection Application for the Project;
  • A description of how the Project will be financed;
  • Letter(s) of intent from lenders or equity partners to cover 30% of the project financing; and
  • Documentation for site control for an area in acres of at least 3 times the Project size in MW (AC rating).

So that information can be evaluated and assessed during the RFP review period, your Part 1 Proposal is expected to remain unchanged during the RFP Process and the Part 1 Proposal must remain in full force and effect until seventeen (17) days after the Bid Date.

08-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-16
Q: How will REC payments from a 15-year contract be spread out over 10 years?

The contract terms have not yet been finalized at this time. However, it is possible that payments in an earlier period of the delivery term (e.g., during the first 9 years) may track closely to actual eligible RECs delivered and payments in later years may feature accelerated payments (e.g., remaining payments made in year 10) for estimated REC deliveries based on a standard capacity factor and an assumed percentage of actual capacity subscribed so that payments under the 15-year REC delivery contract may be made over the first 10 years of the REC delivery term. The REC Contract will feature clawbacks for underperformance relative to the estimated REC deliveries for which payment is based.

08-06-2019

FAQ-LIP-15
Q: Where can I find the bidder information webcast for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

The Procurement Administrator posted the presentation materials and the audio recording from the bidder information webcast held on July 31, 2019 to the Draft Documents page of the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot section of the procurement website.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-14
Q: What is a “REC”?

A REC represents all the environmental attributes corresponding to one MWh of energy generated from renewable energy resources. Under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP, the transfer of RECs by the Seller to the Buyer must occur through PJM EIS GATS or M-RETS, which are the entities expected to issue the RECs.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-13
Q: Does a high school in a low-income community count as a subscriber?

The Procurement Administrator would require additional information to determine whether a high school could count as an eligible subscriber.

More generally, we provide the following information:

  • A subscriber must be a low-income residential customer or a community-based organization that provides programs and services within the community where the proposed Project will be located;
  • There shall be no payment for RECs attributable to other types of subscribers (who are not a low-income residential customer or an eligible community-based organization);
  • Subscriber must receive net metering (if the Project is located in the service territory of a municipal electric utility or a rural electric cooperative, they must certify that they will offer net metering for community solar comparable to what is required for investor owned utilities);
  • No single subscriber may constitute more than 40% of the Project’s nameplate capacity; and
  • The portion of the Project subscribed by community-based organizations in aggregate may not exceed 40% of the facility’s actual nameplate capacity.

A Community-Based Organization should be an existing non-profit organization that provides programs and services within the community where the proposed project will be located. Additionally, a Community-Based Organization is an organization in which:

  • The majority of the governing body and staff consists of local residents,
  • The main operating offices are in the community,
  • Priority issue areas are identified and defined by residents,
  • Solutions to address priority issues are developed with residents, and
  • Program design, implementation, and evaluation components have residents intimately involved, in leadership positions.

For additional information on community-based organizations, please refer to Section 8.6.2 of the Long-Term Procurement Plan.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-12
Q: Can the bid price have an escalation or be adjusted for inflation?

No, the price in the REC Contract is a single price per REC, applicable to all years of the REC Contract. This price is the price that is included in the bid submitted in response to the RFP and approved by the Commission. There are no adders to or escalation of the price.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-11
Q: Is a project required to have all non-ministerial permits obtained in order to qualify for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP?

In the Part 1 Proposal, the Officer of the Seller will be required to certify that for each project, all non-ministerial permits have been obtained.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-10
Q: An Interconnection Agreement has not been fully executed for my Project. What is the area for which I am required to demonstrate control?

If the Interconnection Agreement for the Project is not fully executed, the Bidder must demonstrate control for an area of at least 3 acres times the Project size in MW (AC rating).  For example, if a Project is 10 MW then the Bidder must demonstrate control for 30 acres.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-9
Q: Why is a Bidder required to demonstrate control for an area of at least three acres times the Project size in MW (AC rating)?

If the Interconnection Agreement for the Project is not fully executed, the Bidder must demonstrate control for an area of at least 3 acres times the Project size in MW (AC rating).  For example, if a Project is 10 MW then the Bidder must demonstrate control for 30 acres. This site control requirement is an alternative milestone to demonstrate project maturity.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-8
Q: I have multiple projects. Do I submit one Proposal for all of my projects, or do I submit multiple Proposals, one for each project?

There is no requirement for the submission of projects by batches under the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP.  The Bidder submits a single Proposal for one or more low-income community solar projects.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-7
Q: How many procurement events have been planned for RECs from Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects?

Currently, only one (1) procurement has been planned for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects subprogram. Given some of the funding distributed under this subprogram must be spent on non-utility projects and projects that include community ownership by project subscribers, it is possible that if no such projects avail, then a portion of the budget may be withheld for a subsequent procurement.

If you have not already done so, please join our mailing list to receive updates and announcements regarding RFPs announced by the Procurement Administrator by completing the Contact Us form here: https://www.ipa-energyrfp.com/contact-us/register/

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-6
Q: The Bid Evaluation Section of the webcast from July 31, 2019 states that “the Budget cannot be entirely spent on Projects presented by utilities”. Can you provide additional information on the bid evaluation procedure?

As stated in Section 1-56(b)(2)(D) of the Illinois Power Agency Act, funding available for this subprogram may not be solely distributed to a utility. This means that at least one (1) project that is not presented by the utility must be selected in order for the entire budget for the procurement of RECs to be used. For example, if there is funding sufficient for only 1 project and the project presented by the utility is the lowest-priced project, the evaluation will feature selection of the non-utility project, which will be taken out of price order.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-5
Q: What percent of the Budget is reserved for Projects that are not presented by utilities?

The final budget will be provided at a later date when it becomes available. Section 1-56(b)(2)(D) of the Illinois Power Agency Act provides the following:

(a) the maximum amount that can be paid for RECs from a single project may not exceed $20,000,000.

(b) the maximum budget for this sub-program may not exceed $50,000,000.

(c) the entire budget allocated cannot be distributed solely to a utility.

(d) at least some of the funds must include a project partnership that includes community ownership by the project subscribers.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-4
Q: What makes a project participating in the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot RFP a “pilot” project?

The term “Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects” refers to the name of the sub-program under the Solar-for-All Program to be conducted as a competitive bid process as described in Section 1-56(b)(2)(D) of the Illinois Power Agency Act.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-3
Q: Is it a requirement for the address for either the Bidder or Seller to be within Illinois?

No, the address for the Bidder or Seller is not required to be within Illinois. However, the Project must be located in Illinois.

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-2
Q: What is the definition of a “Community-Based Organization”?

A Community-Based Organization should be an existing non-profit organization that provides programs and services within the community where the proposed project will be located.

Revised 11/5/2019 first posted 8/5/2019

08-05-2019

FAQ-LIP-1
Q: Is there additional information regarding the timeline for the Low-Income Community Solar Pilot procurement?

The Low-Income Community Solar Pilot will be held in 2019. More information will be available soon. The schedule will be posted to the Calendar page of the procurement website and an announcement will be sent to all registrants at that time.

Information pertaining to this procurement will be posted to the dedicated Low-Income Community Solar Pilot page of the procurement website as soon as it becomes available. At this time, please refer to Section 8.6.4 of the Long-Term Plan for additional information.

Revised 4/17/2019 first posted 3/19/2019

03-19-2019