Timeline: 8–11 Months
IN THIS LEVEL, YOU WILL ANSWER KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO:
- Determine roles and responsibilities
- Finalize your site
- Ensure interconnection, permitting, and zoning runs smoothly
- Carry out a power purchase agreement (PPA) with your solar developer
Step 1 Have you determined roles and responsibilities?
Solar developers are responsible for project development, but projects are most likely to be delivered on time and on budget if developers and buyers collaborate as project-delivery partners. We recommend buyers and developers align on the following questions shortly after the developer is awarded a project: – Who are the main points of contact? – Who will complete and who will support major activities? – How often will check-in meetings take place? – What is the timeline for project delivery?
CLICK BELOW to determine roles and responsibilities for solar development.
Step 2 Have you entered into a winner’s agreement? (Optional)
To ensure that the buyer and developer understand their roles and commitments during the solar development process and to ensure that the PPA, lease, and interconnection contracts are executed, we recommend entering into a winners agreement. A winner’s agreement is a detailed and binding document that addresses multiple key development and contracting issues to ensure on-time delivery. You may choose to enter into a non-binding simple letter of intent as an alternative to a winner’s agreement. Please contact Shine at firstname.lastname@example.org to gain access to a standardized letter of intent.
CLICK BELOW to create a winner’s agreement (also found in Level 5, Step 2).
Step 3 Have you carried out a land lease agreement?
If the buyer controls or owns the site, the buyer will need to enter into a lease agreement with the developer. If a third-party site was not secured prior to the final RFP, then the buyer or the developer will purchase or lease the site at this time.
CLICK BELOW to see land lease guidelines (also found in Level 5, Step 2).
Step 4 Have interconnection studies been completed and interconnection agreement executed?
Interconnection impact studies may be required by multiple entities including the distribution utility, the generation and transmission provider (G&T), the local electricity balancing authority (BA), or the regional transmission organization (RTO). Interconnection studies may be completed by the developer, the buyer, or a third-party consultant. Ensure you are familiar with impact and metering requirements early, as they may vary considerably across G&T, BA, or RTO. Once interconnection studies have been completed, the interconnection agreement can be executed, and any other paperwork can be filed with the G&T, BA, and RTO. The interconnection agreement will be negotiated and executed either at this time or after the PPA has been finalized.
CLICK BELOW to create an interconnection agreement.
Step 5 Have you negotiated the PPA and other documents?
Contract negotiation can be time consuming and should begin as early as possible. PPAs typically require the most time to negotiate. Providing—and getting feedback on—a PPA document as part of the final RFP package will greatly compress the time and cost required to negotiate a final RFP. Note that developers need to consider their own interests and the interests of their finance providers and investors when negotiating the final PPA.
CLICK BELOW to create a power purchase agreement.
Step 6 Has your board approved the PPA?
Generally, approval of the Board of Directors is required to finalize the PPA. Consider providing the board with a compressed document (executive summary) that highlights the key issues in the PPA document.
CLICK BELOW to read a PPA executive summary.
Step 7 Have you supported permitting and zoning?
While the developer is ultimately responsible for permitting and zoning the project, you can help facilitate the process. Buyers can provide introductions to local officials, attend and support the project at zoning hearings, and help educate the community on the benefits of the project.
CLICK BELOW to read NRECA’s SUNDA white paper on land acquisition and permitting (four cooperative case studies).