Many cities choose to run an RFI process to gather initial data on how installers or vendors will respond to a specific procurement opportunity. An RFI can be a useful mechanism to collect an initial list of developers, projects suggestions, and approximate pricing to further inform your city’s decisions regarding system design, requirements, and other priorities for your on-site solar project. An RFI is typically issued without any binding obligation for your city to implement a project now or in the future. It is typical to allow two to four weeks for installers or vendors to respond. See New York City’s wastewater treatment solar RFI for an example.
We recommend including the following information in an RFI to make it easier to compare responses:
- The list of prioritized sites, each with their corresponding drawings (these are outputs of the Siting and Potential section).
- The capacity (MW) or annual energy output (MWh) of the solar project you are looking to procure (this could be a goal set by your city or the approximate capacity determined in the Siting and Potential section; the RFI could help inform your estimates of the solar capacity available on each municipal site).
- Clarity about whether the developer, utility, or city will own the RECs from the solar installation.
- A suggested ownership and financing model.
- (Optional) a section where developers can propose novel concepts or structures. If you choose to pursue this option, note that developers will be better able to propose potentially interesting alternatives if your priorities and preferences are clearly stated.