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Procurement Guidance Menu

On-Site Solar

Determine Your Solicitation Process

Depending on your city’s experience with solar projects and local contractors, your city could follow different procurement cycles. The cycles use these three solicitations for procurement documents:

  • A request for information (RFI) is a preliminary document that is used to gather information, even if a procurement project has not been defined.
  • A request for qualifications (RFQ) is used to create a shortlist of top bidders or better understand the qualifications and services the industry can provide.
  • A request for proposals (RFP) is the traditional means of collecting bids for the contracting of services that include detailed information about the project. An RFP solicits business proposals based on the required project criteria.

A procurement cycle can manifest in any of the following combinations:

  • RFI, then RFQ, then RFP

    You may want to pursue this approach if this is one of your city’s first solar projects.

  • RFI, then RFP

    You may want to pursue this approach if you had a condensed timeline and if you include a section on bidder qualifications in the RFP.

  • RFQ, then RFP

    Your city would pursue this approach if you wanted a shortlist of solar providers but felt confident in the design and scope of your on-site solar project. This approach could allow you to make the RFP invitation-only, so that you would know that all the applicants were well-qualified.

  • Straight to RFP

    Your city would pursue this approach if you had done various on-site solar projects and had an understanding of qualified solar contractors. This approach could also be used if you had a tight timeline.