The Interstate Renewable Energy Council has released a request for proposals (RFP) for SolSmart engagement partners. Engagement partners will work with priority communities meeting the DOE definition of “disadvantaged community” (DAC), supporting representatives of those local governments and connecting them with the technical assistance (TA) resources of the SolSmart program.

SolSmart is a national program that has helped nearly 500 local governments reduce barriers to solar energy use for residents and businesses. It provides no-cost technical assistance to help municipalities and counties achieve SolSmart designation, a formal recognition that the community has adopted nationally-recognized solar energy best practices. The program is jointly managed by IREC and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Note that the SolSmart engagement partners will be coordinated by IREC.

Project Overview

IREC is seeking organizations, including community-based organizations and regional organizations, to recruit priority communities for participation in the SolSmart program. A “priority community” is a local government for a city, town, or county with at least 50% of the census tracts within its borders deemed disadvantaged according to the DOE list of DACs.  This list can be found here. For reference, you can find DOE’s data here


Send your questions to [email protected] and we will post the answers here! Read below; we have written the questions in bold and the answers in regular text.

  • I have a specific community in mind, and want to know whether this community is eligible for consideration under the SolSmart designation program.
    We are happy to assist interested organizations in understanding the data and will answer these questions directly to the person requesting. Email your specific question to [email protected].
  • We worked with the SolSmart program in the past to assist communities in achieving a SolSmart designation and have received a regional designation ourselves. Does this impact our eligibility under this RFP?
    Organizations that have had past roles in SolSmart are eligible to apply for this. Selection will be based on the response to the RFP.
  • How will the funding be distributed to selected partners? Will it be based on the completion of deliverables or on invoiced hours?
    We are open to either disbursement method, but budgets and contracts will be finalized after selection is made.
  • Since the period provided for execution is limited, may we have the agreement document that will be used during the execution of the contract in case we are selected?
    We cannot post the agreement, but the 1 week turnaround for execution is flexible within reason.
  • Is the funding available considered federal funding?
    Yes, this is federal funding.
  • Are indirect costs allowed since this is federal funding?
    Indirect costs are permitted. These are vendor contracts, so they do not need to quote “cost + indirect” but rather need to quote a fully loaded “market rate”.
  • If yes, are they allowed on top of the total budget making the total $52000? If not, is it correct to assume that the direct costs can only be 68% of the total $40,000 budget?
    The RFP states “Proposed budget (maximum of $40,000)”
    This maximum includes the indirect costs.