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RVA Solar Fund


The RVA Solar Fund, a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation, is seeking grant applications from local governments and school systems in the greater Richmond region to fund transitions to solar energy.

This grant initiative was developed after a group of donors approached The Community Foundation to learn more about the solar landscape in the Richmond region. After several sessions together, they collaborated to establish a donor advised fund that will provide grants up to $100,000 to support the administrative costs of going solar.

This grant program will serve as a catalyst for the installation of 15,000 solar panels, or 5 megawatts of clean power through a Power Purchase Agreement with our selected partner, Secure Futures, a Certified B Corp. Grant recipients will also enjoy no capital costs, no maintenance obligations, and guaranteed savings while reducing C02 emissions.

Interested applicants must submit a Notice of Interest by November 17, 2017. This notice creates a point of contact and identifies potential sites for solar power installations. Entities who submit a notice will receive a preliminary technical review and those with good solar power potential will be invited to submit a full application.


Additional details and instructions are available to help you manage this process:

Purpose

The RVA Solar Fund is a donor-driven funding opportunity to empower local governments and public school systems to choose solar energy at no upfront or net operating costs.

(1) Grantees may use funds to cover overhead related to this effort, implement educational programs or training, or obtain other clean energy services.

(2)   After notification of intent to award grant and prior to receiving funding, grant recipients must enter into a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with our selected partner Secure Futures, a Certified B Corp specializing in solar installations for public purpose entities.

To create long-term annual budget cost savings, Secure Futures will provide solar energy from these panels to the corresponding municipality or school system at or below the comparable cost of traditional energy.

Grant recipients will benefit from administrative efficiencies since a new public procurement process is not required for RVA Solar Fund PPAs. In 2014, Albemarle County's RFP for a solar PPA established a cooperative purchase agreement for Virginia public agencies. Albemarle County Public Schools and Lexington City Public Schools already have used this option.

 

Eligibility

Applicant Eligibility

The following criteria must be in place for consideration:

  • All K-12 public-school systems and local governments in the Richmond MSA1 are eligible and encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should submit a minimum of 75,000 square feet of solar-ready roof area for consideration in their Notice of Interest. This is roof area that is both unshaded and in good condition. It may be spread across multiple public buildings, but each building must have a minimum of 7,500 square feet of solar ready roof area to be considered.
  • Additionally, open land area of at least 3 acres and not more than 1,000 feet from a metered public building is also eligible.
  1 The Richmond MSA includes the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond; the towns of Ashland, Bowling Green, Jarratt, McKenney, Port Royal, Stoney Creek, Wakefield, Waverly and West Point; and the counties of Amelia, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King William, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, and Sussex.

 

Acceptable Use of Grant Funds

Grants may be used for:

  • Administrative costs associated with applying for a grant and executing the PPA
  • Energy audits
  • Energy improvements on site
  • Roof repairs and other maintenance or improvements needed to enable solar installations
  • Community education materials such as signage, monitoring hardware and software, training curriculum, website development and hosting and events
  • Instructor training in solar power systems
  • Curriculum, classroom materials and training

Grant funds cannot be used for:

  • solar panels or electricity. (Solar energy from the panels is provided to the grant recipients as part of the PPA with Secure Futures.)

Grant Amounts

 

Multiple grants ranging from $20,000 and $100,000 will be awarded. Individual grant amounts will depend on the merits of the proposal and the amount of solar energy to be generated at the applicant's site(s).

Qualified applicants should provide an estimated square footage of their solar-ready rooftops (unshaded and in good condition) or adjacent open land in their Notice of Interest.

Applicants seeking the maximum grant amount should identify solar ready area of 400,000 square feet (rooftop, land or a combination thereof).

Timeline

  • Non-binding Notices of Interest due by 5pm on November 17, 2017

    You may submit your entity’s notice through our online grants system via the link below. This notice is to create a point of contact at your government agency or school system and to identify properties that may be candidates for solar power installations.
  • Invitations to submit full applications distributed by December 1, 2017
  • Full Application due by 5pm on January 26, 2018
  • Grant notifications distributed by March 1, 2018
  • Solar equipment installed in Summer 2018

The deadline for Notices of Interest is November 17. Please click to submit through our online grants system. Access online system