In preparation for RFP evaluation, it can be helpful to aggregate RFP responses into an easily comparable format, such as RMI’s forthcoming Inclusive Solarize Campaign RFP Response Aggregation & Evaluation Template, to make it easier for the selection committee to evaluate responses against the evaluation criteria. The campaign manager can also integrate any additional information not included in the RFP responses, such as installer reviews on platforms such as Google and Yelp.
Next, the selection committee should meet as a team and evaluate the proposals using a clear scoring process. Each response category should be evaluated using the evaluation criteria outlined in the RFP. Although some campaigns choose not to formally score responses (e.g., Solar United Neighbors’ Solar Co-op members often select their installer by consensus), having a clear scoring process with explicit guidelines for point valuation can ensure it is transparent and legally defensible. This is particularly relevant for local government staff acting as voting members of the installer selection committee, who should also ensure the scoring process meets the requirements of their organizations’ legal departments.
After RFP responses have been evaluated, an evaluation committee may invite the top-rated installers for a brief phone call or interview to talk more about their business and answer questions. Additionally, a selection committee should determine whether to select one or multiple installers based on the number of expected campaign participants and contracts, quality of installer responses, and campaign goals. The following table summarizes the primary advantages and challenges of each option.