7 CFR 4280.117 - Evaluation of RES and EEI grant applications.

§ 4280.117 Evaluation of RES and EEI grant applications.
(a) General review. The Agency will evaluate each RES and EEI application and make a determination as to whether the applicant is eligible, the proposed grant is for an eligible project, and the proposed grant complies with all applicable statutes and regulations.
(b) Technical merit. The Agency's determination of a project's technical merit will be based on the information provided by the applicant. The Agency may engage the services of other government agencies or other recognized industry experts in the applicable technology field, at its discretion, to evaluate and rate the application. The Agency may use this evaluation and rating to determine the level of technical merit of the proposed project. Projects that the Agency determines are without technical merit shall be deemed ineligible.
(c) Evaluation criteria. Agency personnel will score each application based on the evaluation criteria specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(10) of this section.
(1) Quantity of energy replaced, produced, or saved, and flexible fuel pumps. Points may only be awarded for energy replacement, energy savings, or energy generation, or for flexible fuel pumps. Points will not be awarded for more than one category.
(i) Energy replacement. If the proposed renewable energy system is intended primarily for self-use by the agricultural producer or rural small business and will provide energy replacement of greater than zero, but equal to or less than 25 percent, 5 points will be awarded; greater than 25 percent, but equal to or less than 50 percent, 10 points will be awarded; or greater than 50 percent, 15 points will be awarded. Energy replacement is to be determined by dividing the estimated quantity of renewable energy to be generated over a 12-month period by the estimated quantity of energy consumed over the same 12-month period during the previous year by the applicable energy application. The estimated quantities of energy must be converted to either British thermal units (BTUs), Watts, or similar energy equivalents to facilitate scoring. If the estimated energy produced equals more than 150 percent of the energy requirements of the applicable process(es), the project will be scored as an energy generation project.
(ii) Energy savings. If the estimated energy expected to be saved by the installation of the energy efficiency improvements will be from 20 percent up to, but not including 30 percent, 5 points will be awarded; 30 percent up to, but not including 35 percent, 10 points will be awarded; or, 35 percent or greater, 15 points will be awarded. Energy savings will be determined by the projections in an energy assessment or audit. Projects with total eligible project costs of $50,000 or less that opt to obtain a professional energy audit will be awarded an additional 5 points.
(iii) Energy generation. If the proposed renewable energy system is intended primarily for production of energy for sale, 10 points will be awarded.
(iv) Flexible fuel pump(s). (A) If the proposed project is for one or more flexible fuel pumps, points will be awarded based on the overall percentage of proposed flexible fuel pumps to the applicant's total retail pump inventory at the facility. The percentage of proposed flexible fuel pumps shall be calculated using the following equation.
Equation: FFP% = (FFPx/TP) × 100
where:
FFP% = Proposed flexible fuel pump(s), percentage.
FFPx = Number of proposed flexible fuel pumps to be installed at applicant's facility.
TP = Number of proposed pumps to be installed plus the number of pumps installed and operating at the facility.
(B) If the proposed flexible fuel pump percentage calculated is 5 percent or below, 5 points will be awarded; above 5 percent and up to, but not including, 10 percent, 10 points will be awarded; or 10 percent and above, 15 points will be awarded.
(2) Environmental benefits. If the purpose of the proposed system contributes to the environmental goals and objectives of other Federal, State, or local programs, 10 points will be awarded. Points will only be awarded for this paragraph if the applicant is able to provide documentation from an appropriate authority supporting this claim.
(3) Commercial availability. If the proposed system or improvement is currently commercially available and replicable, 5 points will be awarded. If the proposed system or improvement is commercially available and replicable and is also provided with a 5-year or longer warranty providing the purchaser protection against system degradation or breakdown or component breakdown, 10 points will be awarded.
(4) Technical merit score. The Technical Merit of each project will be determined using the procedures specified in paragraphs (c)(4)(i) and (c)(4)(ii) of this section. The procedures specified in paragraph (c)(4)(i) will be used to score paragraphs (c)(4)(i)(A) through (c)(4)(i)(J) of this section. The final score awarded will be calculated using the procedures described in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section.
(i) Technical merit. Each subparagraph has its own maximum possible score and will be scored according to the following criteria: If the description in the subparagraph has no significant weaknesses and exceeds the requirements of the subparagraph, 100 percent of the total possible score for the subparagraph will be awarded. If the description has one or more significant strengths and meets the requirements of the subparagraph, 80 percent of the total possible score will be awarded for the subparagraph. If the description meets the basic requirements of the subparagraph, but also has several weaknesses, 60 percent of the points will be awarded. If the description is lacking in one or more critical aspects, key issues have not been addressed, but the description demonstrates some merit or strengths, 40 percent of the total possible score will be awarded. If the description has serious deficiencies, internal inconsistencies, or is missing information, 20 percent of the total possible score will be awarded. If the description has no merit in this area, 0 percent of the total possible score will be awarded. The total possible points for Technical Merit is 35 points.
(A) Qualifications of the project team (maximum score of 10 points). The applicant has described the project team service providers, their professional credentials, and relevant experience. The description supports that the project team service, equipment, and installation providers have the necessary professional credentials, licenses, certifications, or relevant experience to develop the proposed project.
(B) Agreements and permits (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the necessary agreements and permits required for the project and the schedule for securing those agreements and permits.
(C) Energy or resource assessment (maximum score of 10 points). The applicant has described the quality and availability of a suitable renewable resource or an assessment of expected energy savings for the proposed system.
(D) Design and engineering (maximum score of 30 points). The applicant has described the design, engineering, and testing needed for the proposed project. The description supports that the system will be designed, engineered, and tested so as to meet its intended purpose, ensure public safety, and comply with applicable laws, regulations, agreements, permits, codes, and standards.
(E) Project development schedule (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the development method, including the key project development activities and the proposed schedule for each activity. The description identifies each significant task, its beginning and end, and its relationship to the time needed to initiate and carry the project through to successful completion. The description addresses grantee or borrower project development cash flow requirements.
(F) Project economic assessment (maximum score of 20 points). The applicant has described the financial performance of the proposed project, including the calculation of simple payback. The description addresses project costs and revenues, such as applicable investment and production incentives, and other information to allow the assessment of the project's cost effectiveness.
(G) Equipment procurement (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the availability of the equipment required by the system. The description supports that the required equipment is available, and can be procured and delivered within the proposed project development schedule.
(H) Equipment installation (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the plan for site development and system installation.
(I) Operation and maintenance (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the operations and maintenance requirements of the system necessary for the system to operate as designed over the design life.
(J) Dismantling and disposal of project components (maximum score of 5 points). The applicant has described the requirements for dismantling and disposing of project components at the end of their useful life and associated wastes.
(ii) Calculation of Technical Merit Score. To determine the actual points awarded a project for Technical Merit, the following procedure will be used: The score awarded for paragraphs (c)(4)(i)(A) through (c)(4)(i)(J) of this section will be added together and then divided by 100, the maximum possible score, to achieve a percentage. This percentage will then be multiplied by the total possible points of 35 to achieve the points awarded for the proposed project for Technical Merit.
(5) Readiness. If the applicant has written commitments from the source(s) confirming commitment of 50 percent up to but not including 75 percent of the matching funds prior to the Agency receiving the complete application, 5 points will be awarded. If the applicant has written commitments from the source(s) confirming commitment of 75 percent up to but not including 100 percent of the matching funds prior to the Agency receiving the complete application, 10 points will be awarded. If the applicant has written commitments from the source(s) of matching funds confirming commitment of 100 percent of the matching funds prior to the Agency receiving the complete application, 15 points will be awarded.
(6) Small agricultural producer/very small business. If the applicant is an agricultural producer producing agricultural products with a gross market value of less than $600,000 in the preceding year, 5 points will be awarded. If the applicant is an agricultural producer producing agricultural products with a gross market value of less than $200,000 in the preceding year or is a very small business, as defined in § 4280.103, points will be awarded.
(7) Simplified application/low cost projects. If the applicant is eligible for and uses the simplified application process or the project has total eligible project costs of $200,000 or less, 5 points will be awarded.
(8) Previous grantees and borrowers. If an applicant has not been awarded a grant or loan under this program within the 2 previous Federal fiscal years, 5 points will be awarded.
(9) Simple payback. A maximum of 15 points will be awarded for either renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements; points will not be awarded for more than one category. In either case, points will be awarded based on the simple payback of the project.
(i) Renewable energy systems, including flexible fuel pumps. If the simple payback of the proposed project is:
(A) Less than 10 years, 15 points will be awarded;
(B) 10 years up to but not including 15 years, 10 points will be awarded;
(C) 15 years up to and including 20 years, 5 points will be awarded; or
(D) Longer than 20 years, no points will be awarded.
(ii) Energy efficiency improvements. If the simple payback of the proposed project is:
(A) Less than 4 years, 15 points will be awarded;
(B) 4 years up to but not including 8 years, 10 points will be awarded;
(C) 8 years up to and including 12 years, 5 points will be awarded; or
(D) Longer than 12 years, no points will be awarded.
(10) State Director and Administrator priorities and points. A State Director, for its State allocation under this subpart, or the Administrator, for making awards from the National Office reserve, may award up to 10 points to an application if the application is for an under-represented technology or for flexible fuel pumps or if selecting the application would help achieve geographic diversity. In no case shall an application receive more than 10 points under this criterion.
Beta! The text on the eCFR tab represents the unofficial eCFR text at ecfr.gov.
§ 4280.117 Grant Applications for RES and EEI projects with total project costs of $200,000 and greater.

Grant applications for RES and EEI projects with Total Project Costs of $200,000 and Greater must provide the information specified in this section. This information must be presented in the order shown in paragraphs (a) through (f), as applicable, of this section. Each Applicant is encouraged, but is not required, to self-score the project using the evaluation criteria in § 4280.120 and to submit with their application the total score, including appropriate calculations and attached documentation or specific cross-references to information elsewhere in the application.

(a) Forms and certifications. Each application must contain the forms and certifications specified in paragraphs (a)(1) through (9), as applicable, of this section, except that paragraph (a)(4).

(1) Form SF-424.

(2) Form SF-424C, “Budget Information-Construction Programs.”

(3) Form SF-424D, “Assurances-Construction Programs.”

(4) Identify the ethnicity, race, and gender of the applicant. This information is optional and is not required for a Complete Application.

(5) Environmental documentation in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970. The Applicant should contact the Agency to determine what documentation is required to be provided.

(6) The Applicant must identify whether or not the Applicant has a known relationship or association with an Agency employee. If there is a known relationship, the Applicant must identify each Agency employee with whom the Applicant has a known relationship.

(7) Certification that the Applicant is a legal entity in good standing (as applicable), and operating in accordance with the laws of the State(s) or Tribe where the Applicant has a place of business.

(8) Certification by the Applicant that the equipment required for the project is available, can be procured and delivered within the proposed project development schedule, and will be installed in conformance with manufacturer's specifications and design requirements. This would not be applicable when equipment is not part of the project.

(9) Certification by the Applicant that the project will be constructed in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, agreements, permits, codes, and standards.

(b) Applicant information. Provide information specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section to allow the Agency to determine the eligibility of the Applicant.

(1) Type of Applicant. Demonstrate that the Applicant meets the definition of Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business, including appropriate information necessary to demonstrate that the Applicant meets the Agricultural Producer's percent of gross income derived from agricultural operations or the Rural Small Business' size, as applicable, requirements identified in these definitions. Include a description of the Applicant's farm/ranch/business operation.

(i) Rural Small Business Applicants. Identify the primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code applicable to the Applicant's business concern. Provide sufficient information to determine total Annual Receipts and number of employees of the business concern and any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate to demonstrate that the Applicant meets the definition of Small Business according to the time frames specified below.

(A) For Applicant business concerns, parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates that have been in operation for 36 months or more, provide Annual Receipts information for the 36 months and the number of employees for the 12 months preceding the date the application is submitted.

(B) For Applicant business concerns, parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates that have been in operation for less than 36 months but for at least 12 months, provide Annual Receipts and the number of employees for as long as the business concern, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate has been in operation.

(C) For Applicant business concerns, parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates that have been in operation for less than 12 months, provide Annual Receipts and number of employees projections for the applicable entity based upon a typical operating year for a 3-year time period.

(ii) Agricultural Producer Applicants. Provide the gross market value of the Applicant's agricultural products, gross agricultural income of the Applicant, and gross nonfarm income of the Applicant according to the Annual Receipts time frames specified in paragraphs (b)(1)(i)(A) through (C) of this section, as applicable to the length of time that Applicant's agricultural operation has been in operation.

(2) Applicant description. Describe the ownership of the Applicant, including the following information if applicable.

(i) Ownership and control. Describe how the Applicant meets the ownership and control requirements.

(ii) Affiliated companies. For entities (e.g., corporate parents, affiliates, subsidiaries), provide a list of the individual owners with their contact information of those entities. Describe the relationship between the Applicant and these other entities, including management and products exchanged.

(3) Financial information. Financial information is required on the total operation of the Agricultural Producer/Rural Small Business and its parent, subsidiary, or affiliates. All information submitted under this paragraph must be substantiated by authoritative records.

(i) Historical financial statements. Provide historical financial statements prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) for the past 3 years, including income statements and balance sheets. If Agricultural Producers are unable to present this information in accordance with GAAP, they may instead present financial information in the format that is generally required by commercial agriculture lenders. For a Rural Small Business or Agricultural Producer that has been in operation for less than 3 years, provide income statements and balance sheets for as long as the business operation has been in existence.

(ii) Current balance sheet and income statement. Provide a current balance sheet and income statement prepared in accordance with GAAP and dated within 90 days of the application. Agricultural Producers can present financial information in the format that is generally required by commercial agriculture lenders.

(iii) Pro forma financial statements. Provide pro forma balance sheet at start-up of the Agricultural Producer's/Rural Small Business' business operation that reflects the use of the loan proceeds or grant award; and 3 additional years, indicating the necessary start-up capital, operating capital, and short-term credit; and projected cash flow and income statements for 3 years supported by a list of assumptions showing the basis for the projections.

(4) Previous grants and loans. State whether the Applicant has received any grants and/or loans under this subpart. If the Applicant has, identify each such grant and/or loan and describe the progress the Applicant has made on each project for which the grant and/or loan was received, including projected schedules and actual completion dates.

(c) Project information. Provide information concerning the proposed project as a whole and its relationship to the Applicant's operations, including the following:

(1) Identification as to whether the project is for a RES or an EEI project. Include a description and the location of the project.

(2) A description of the process that will be used to conduct all procurement transactions to demonstrate compliance with § 4280.124(a)(1).

(3) Describe how the proposed project will have a positive effect on resource conservation (e.g., water, soil, forest), public health (e.g., potable water, air quality), and the environment (e.g., compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) renewable fuel standard(s), greenhouse gases, emissions, particulate matter).

(4) Identify the amount of funds and the source(s) the Applicant is proposing to use for the project. Provide written commitments for funds at the time the application is submitted to receive points under this scoring criterion.

(i) If financial resources come from the Applicant, the Applicant must submit documentation in the form of a bank statement that demonstrates availability of funds.

(ii) If a third party is providing financial assistance, the Applicant must submit a commitment letter signed by an authorized official of the third party. The letter must be specific to the project, identify the dollar amount and any applicable rates and terms. If the third party is a bank, a letter-of-intent, pre-qualification letter, subject to bank approval, or other underwriting requirements or contingencies are not acceptable. An acceptable condition may be based on the receipt of the REAP grant or an appraisal.

(d) Feasibility Study. If the application is for a RES project with Total Project Costs of $200,000 and Greater, a Feasibility Study must be submitted. The Feasibility Study must be conducted by a Qualified Consultant.

(e) Technical report. Each application must contain a technical report prepared in accordance with § 4280.110(h) and Appendix A or C, as applicable, of this subpart.

(f) Construction planning and performing development. Each application submitted must be in accordance with § 4280.124 for planning, designing, bidding, contracting, and constructing RES and EEI projects as applicable.

[79 FR 78255, Dec. 29, 2014, as amended at 81 FR 11052, Mar. 2, 2016]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code

Title 7 published on 2015-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 7 CFR Part 4280 after this date.

  • 2015-03-26; vol. 80 # 58 - Thursday, March 26, 2015
    1. 80 FR 15885 - Rural Development Regulations—Update to FmHA References and to Census References
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, Farm Service Agency
      Correction; direct final rule.
      This document is effective April 27, 2015.
      7 CFR Parts 1709, 1714, 1735, 1737, 1738, 1739, 1740, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, and 1783