7 CFR 4280.123 - Servicing RES and EEI Grants.
The Agency will service RES and EEI grants in accordance with the requirements specified in Departmental Regulations; 7 CFR part 1951, subparts E and O, other than 7 CFR 1951.709(d)(1)(B)(iv); the Grant Agreement; and paragraphs (a) through (k) of this section.
(b)Programmatic changes. Grantees may make changes to an approved project's costs, scope, contractor, or vendor subject to the provisions specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) of this section. If the changes result in lowering the project's score to below what would have qualified the application for award, the Agency will not approve the changes.
(1)Prior approval. The grantee must obtain prior Agency approval for any change to the scope, contractor, or vendor of the approved project. Changes in project cost will require Agency Approval as outlined in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section.
(ii) Failure to obtain prior Agency approval of any such change could result in such remedies as suspension, termination, and recovery of grant funds.
(iii) Prior Agency approval is required for all increases in project costs. Prior Agency approval is required for a decrease in project cost only if the decrease would have a negative effect on the long-term viability of the project. A decrease in project cost that does not have a negative impact on long-term viability requires Agency review and approval prior to disbursement of funds.
(2)Changes in project cost or scope. If there is a significant change in project cost or any change in project scope, then the grantee's funding needs, eligibility, and scoring, as applicable, will be reassessed. Decreases in Agency funds will be based on revised project costs and other factors, including Agency regulations used at the time of grant approval.
(3)Change of contractor or vendor. When seeking a change, the grantee must submit to the Agency a written request for approval. The proposed contractor or vendor must have qualifications and experience acceptable to the Agency. The written request must contain sufficient information, which may include a revised technical report as required under § 4280.117(e), § 4280.118(b)(4), § 4280.119(b)(3), or § 4280.119(b)(4), as applicable, to demonstrate to the Agency's satisfaction that such change maintains project integrity. If the Agency determines that project integrity continues to be demonstrated, the grantee may make the change. If the Agency determines that project integrity is no longer demonstrated, the change will not be approved and the grantee has the following options: Continue with the original contractor or vendor; find another contractor or vendor that has qualifications and experience acceptable to the Agency to complete the project; or terminate the grant by providing a written request to the Agency. No additional funding will be available from the Agency if costs for the project have increased. The Agency decision will be provided in writing.
(c)Transfer of obligations. Prior to the construction of the project, the grantee may request, in writing, a transfer of obligation to a different (substitute) grantee. Subject to Agency approval provided in writing, an obligation of funds established for a grantee may be transferred to a substitute grantee provided:
(1) The substituted grantee
(i) Is eligible;
(ii) Has a close and genuine relationship with the original grantee; and
(iii) Has the authority to receive the assistance approved for the original grantee; and
(d)Transfer of ownership. After the project is completed and operational, the grantee may request, in writing, a transfer of the Grant Agreement to another entity. Subject to Agency approval provided in writing, the Grant Agreement may be transferred to another entity provided:
(1) The entity is determined by the Agency to be an eligible entity under this subpart; and
(e)Disposition of acquired property. Grantees must abide by the disposition requirements outlined in Departmental Regulations.
(f)Financial management system and records. The grantee must provide for financial management systems and maintain records as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (2) of this section.
(1)Financial management system. The grantee will provide for a financial system that will include:
(i) Accurate, current, and complete disclosure of the financial results of each grant;
(ii) Records that identify adequately the source and application of funds for grant-supporting activities, together with documentation to support the records. Those records must contain information pertaining to grant awards and authorizations, obligations, unobligated balances, assets, liabilities, outlays, and income; and
(iii) Effective control over and accountability for all funds. The grantee must adequately safeguard all such assets and must ensure that funds are used solely for authorized purposes.
(2)Records. The grantee will retain financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to the grant for a period of at least 3 years after completion of grant activities except that the records must be retained beyond the 3-year period if audit findings have not been resolved or if directed by the United States. The Agency and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, must have access to any books, documents, papers, and records of the grantee that are pertinent to the specific grant for the purpose of making audit, examination, excerpts, and transcripts.
(g)Audit requirements. If applicable, grantees must provide an annual audit in accordance with 7 CFR part 3052. The Agency may exercise its right to do a program audit after the end of the project to ensure that all funding supported Eligible Project Costs.
(h)Grant disbursement. As applicable, grantees must disburse grant funds as scheduled in accordance with the appropriate construction and inspection requirements in §§ 4280.118, 4280.119 or 4280.124 as applicable. Unless required by third parties providing cost sharing payments to be provided on a pro-rata basis with other funds, grant funds will be disbursed after all other funds have been expended.
(1) Unless authorized by the Agency to do so, grantees may submit requests for reimbursement no more frequently than monthly. Ordinarily, payment will be made within 30 days after receipt of a proper request for reimbursement.
(2) Grantees must not request reimbursement for the Federal share of amounts withheld from contractors to ensure satisfactory completion of work until after it makes those payments.
(3) Payments will be made by electronic funds transfer.
(4) Grantees must use SF-271, “Outlay Report and Request for Reimbursement for Construction Programs,” or other format prescribed by the Agency to request grant reimbursements.
(5) For a grant awarded to a project with Total Project Costs of $200,000 and greater, grant funds will be disbursed in accordance with the above through 90 percent of grant disbursement. The final 10 percent of grant funds will be held by the Agency until construction of the project is completed, the project is operational, and the project has met or exceeded the steady state operating level as set out in the grant award requirements. In addition, the Agency reserves the right to request additional information or testing if upon a final site visit the 30 day steady state operating level is not found acceptable to the Agency.
(i)Monitoring of project. Grantees are responsible for ensuring that all activities are performed within the approved scope of work and that funds are only used for approved purposes.
(1) Grantees shall constantly monitor performance to ensure that:
(i) Time schedules are being met;
(iii) Financial resources are being appropriately expended by contractors (if applicable); and
(iv) Any other performance objectives identified in the scope of work are being achieved.
(2) To the extent that resources are available, the Agency will monitor grantees to ensure that activities are performed in accordance with the Agency-approved scope of work and to ensure that funds are expended for approved purposes. The Agency's monitoring of grantees neither:
(i) Relieves the grantee of its responsibilities to ensure that activities are performed within the scope of work approved by the Agency and that funds are expended for approved purposes only; nor
(ii) Provides recourse or a defense to the grantee should the grantee conduct unapproved activities, engage in unethical conduct, engage in activities that are or that give the appearance of a conflict of interest, or expend funds for unapproved purposes.
(j)Reporting requirements. Financial and project performance reports must be provided by grantees and contain the information specified in paragraphs (j)(1) through (3) of this section.
(1)Federal Financial Reports. Between grant approval and completion of project (i.e., construction), SF-425, “Federal Financial Report” will be required of all grantees as applicable on a semiannual basis. The grantee will complete the project within the total sums available to it, including the grant, in accordance with the scope of work and any necessary modifications thereof prepared by grantee and approved by the Agency.
(2)Project performance reports. Between grant approval and completion of project (i.e., construction), grantees must provide semiannual project performance reports and a final project development report containing the information specified in paragraphs (j)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section. These reports are due 30 working days after June 30 and December 31 of each year.
(i)Semiannual project performance reports. Each semiannual project performance report must include the following:
(A) A comparison of actual accomplishments to the objectives for that period;
(B) Reasons why established objectives were not met, if applicable;
(C) Reasons for any problems, delays, or adverse conditions which will affect attainment of overall program objectives, prevent meeting time schedules or objectives, or preclude the attainment of particular objectives during established time periods. This disclosure must be accompanied by a statement of the action taken or planned to resolve the situation; and
(D) Objectives and timetables established for the next reporting period.
(A) A detailed project funding and expense summary; and
(3)Outcome project performance reports. Once the project has been constructed, the grantee must provide the Agency periodic reports. These reports will include the information specified in paragraphs (j)(3)(i) or (ii) of this section, as applicable.
(i)Renewable Energy Systems. For RES projects, commencing the first full calendar year following the year in which project construction was completed and continuing for 3 full years, provide a report detailing the information specified in paragraphs (j)(3)(i)(A) through (G) of this section.
(A) Type of technology;
(B) The actual annual amount of energy generated in BTUs, kilowatt-hours, or similar energy equivalents;
(C) Annual income for systems that are selling energy, if applicable, and/or energy savings of the RES;
(D) A summary of the cost of operations and maintenance;
(E) A description of any associated major maintenance or operational problems;
(F) Recommendations for development of future similar projects; and
(ii)Energy Efficiency Improvements. For EEI projects, commencing the first full calendar year following the year in which project construction was completed and continuing for 2 full years, provide a report detailing, including calculations and any assumptions:
(A) The actual amount of energy saved annually as determined by the difference between:
(k)Grant close-out. Grant close-out must be performed in accordance with the requirements specified in Departmental Regulations.