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Procurement Guidance Menu

Off-Site Physical PPA

Develop a Request for Proposals (RFP)

Download our Off-Site Renewables PPA RFP Template*.

Once you have identified your approach to the market and established your criteria, it is time to run a more formal RFP. This process may need to be conducted with the guidance of your procurement, finance, and legal departments. Some examples of RFPs developed by other cities include these by the City of Charlotte, NC; the City of Cincinnati, OH; the City of Denton, TX; the City of Houston, TX; the City of Philadelphia, PA; and the District of Columbia. Refer to Chapter 6 of the EPA’s Guide to Purchasing Green Power for more considerations.

When developing a RFP, you should provide a standard set of information to developers. This encourages accurate, comparable bids. See the Discover Providers and Pricing section for more information. As you develop the RFP, you should also share your city’s priorities, requirements and preferences; proposers may be able to offer creative solutions to issues relating to job training, social equity, or local economic development.

For specific language to include, see the Off-site Renewables PPA RFP Template. To guide your process, the information below summarizes what is included in each section of our RFP template. Our team also developed a brief guide to center equity and high-road labor practices in clean energy RFPs, including sample text. Recommended RFP elements, related resources, and helpful videos from an ACCC Renewables Accelerator RFP virtual workshop are available below.

*Note (August 2020): We are experiencing unprecedented changes to local economic activity, societal behavior, and public health due to COVID-19. We’ve developed an addendum to our RFP template to provide City and County staff with updated guidance on renewables procurement to help them move forward with more confidence on projects in this unusual environment. Considerations and recommendations for adapting each major section of the procurement process and RFP documents have been developed and are included for reference. While not comprehensive, this addendum should provide sufficient information for staff to be able to quickly incorporate key changes to the RFP template and keep projects moving forward.

  • 1. Project Overview

    This section provides a high-level description of the procurement goal and the buyer’s background. It typically includes the following information:

    1.1. Purpose of Request for Proposal: Summarizes project basic information and objectives.

    1.2. City/County Background: Provides detailed information about the RFP issuer:

    • City/County renewable energy goals
    • Existing renewable energy projects (location, size, operation year)
    • City/County energy profile


  • 2. Scope of Work

    This section provides a detailed list of what the RFP issuer wants to get from the selected proposer and the project. It typically includes the following information:

    2.1. Project Details: Specifies what the project should include and what the selected proposer must do:

    • Project size
    • Project location preference
    • PPA contract structure (i.e., physical or virtual PPA)
    • Timeframe
    • Pricing and economics
    • Operation and maintenance requirements
    • Permits, approval, and compliance requirements
    • Remote monitoring requirements
    • Any additional requirements related to city priorities (e.g., job training or hiring programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods, local rooftop solar installation commitments, etc.)


    2.2. Project Objectives: Describes what the city/county wants to achieve through the project (This part should be aligned with Section 1.1, “Purpose of RFP”, and Section 5.2, “Evaluation Criteria”). Potential objectives may include:

    • Providing electricity price stability
    • Demonstrating renewable energy commitment
    • Promoting local economic development
    • Enhancing public awareness
    • Facilitating reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions


  • 3. Procurement Process

    This section provides a list of important dates, milestone events, and responsible parties. It typically includes the following important events:

    • Pre-proposal webinar/meeting
    • Deadlines for question submissions and city/county responses
    • Proposal submission deadline
    • Shortlist and interview timeline
    • Expected authorization from city council


  • 4. Proposal Requirements

    This section describes how developers should propose projects. It typically includes the following information:

    4.1. General Formats: Specifies what formats a proposal should use.

    4.2. Proposal Components: Provides a list of materials proposers should submit:

    • Cover letter
    • Executive summary
    • Plant description and timeline
    • Pricing proposal
    • Financial and business experience summary
    • Project team bios
    • Co-benefit description and quantification
    • Alternative proposals


    4.3. Error Correction Process: Describes how proposers can correct errors in a submitted proposal.


  • 5. Proposal Evaluation

    This section describes how proposals will be evaluated. It typically includes the following information:

    5.1. Evaluation Process: Introduces which individuals will be part of the evaluation team and how they will evaluate proposals. This section may include a discussion of:

    • Evaluation team members
    • Interview process
    • When and how shortlisted/selected proposer(s) will be notified


    5.2. Evaluation Criteria: Specifies what the evaluation team will consider when scoring and comparing proposals. These criteria may include:

    • Cost effectiveness of the proposal
    • Developer qualifications and experience
    • Developer’s financial strength
    • Project characteristics and feasibility
    • Co-benefits* (e.g., local job creation, economic development programs, pollinator requirements, etc.)

    *Note: The City of Chicago’s RFP, Form 6, includes a highly detailed co-benefits chart on local and equitable co-benefits that may serve as a helpful reference point.


  • 6. General Conditions

    This section specifies what conditions proposers should comply with. It typically includes the following information:

    • Obligations
    • Confidentiality
    • General legal terms and conditions


  • 7. Attachments

    7.1. RFP Bid Sheet: An Excel-based spreadsheet (download bid sheet template) through which cities/counties collect bid information from proposers. Requesting this information in a standardized way allows the city/county to compare proposals in an apples-to-apples manner. The Bid Sheet typically asks bidders to fill in the following information:

    • Proposer information and contact details
    • Project information
    • Pricing information
    • Project P90 hourly generation profile


    7.2. Energy Use Data and Load Profiles: Charts and tables provided to proposers that show the city’s/county’s energy profile. For more information, please see Energy Use Data and Load Profiles for City of Philadelphia and Off-site PPA Pitch Deck (slide 9). It typically includes the following information:

    • City/County hourly load
    • City/County monthly electricity use
    • Current energy use breakdown (renewable energy vs. non-renewable energy)
    • Projected energy use increases or decreases


Before issuing the RFP, ensure that you have clearly defined your city’s priorities and risk tolerances, which were initially discussed in the Getting Started: Clarify Your City’s Priorities and in the Build a Team sections, respectively. If there are specific areas or aspects of the transaction that are nonnegotiable for your finance and legal team, you should communicate those in the RFP. Specific examples of such issues could include term length, operational date, or credit requirements. For more information, see ACORE’s Renewable Energy Guidebook, which provides an overview of PPA deal terms. Also, make sure to include any special requests you may have, such as desired risk-mitigation options, specific requirements regarding communications in the future, or programs related to other city priorities (e.g., local job training or economic development investments). For more information on maximizing the social and environmental impacts of PPA contracts, see Salesforce’s paper on this topic: More Than a Megawatt: Embedding Social & Environmental Impact in the Renewable Energy Procurement Process.