Feasibility study grants will be serviced in accordance with Departmental regulations; 7 CFR part 1951, subparts E and O; and paragraphs (a) through (n) of this section.
(a)Inspections. Grantees will permit periodic inspection of the project records and operations by a representative of the Agency.
(b)Programmatic changes. The grantee shall obtain prior Agency approval for any change to the scope or objectives of the approved project. Failure to obtain prior approval of changes to the scope of work or budget may result in suspension, termination, and recovery of grant funds.
(c)Changes in project cost or scope. If there is a significant reduction in project cost or changes in project scope, the applicant's funding needs, eligibility, and scoring, as applicable, will be reassessed. Decreases in Agency funds will be based on revised project costs and other selection factors; however, other factors, including Agency regulations and Notices used at the time of grant approval, will remain the same. Obligated grant funds not needed to complete the project will be de-obligated.
(d)Transfer of obligations. Subject to Agency approval, an obligation of funds established for a grantee may be transferred to a different (substituted) 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
(2) The type of renewable energy technology and the scope of the project for which the Agency funds will be used remain unchanged.
(e)Financial management system and records. Grantees are required to maintain a financial management system and records in accordance with Departmental regulations.
(f)Fund disbursement. Grant funds will be expended on a pro rata basis with matching funds.
(1) Requests for reimbursement may be submitted monthly or more frequently if authorized to do so by the Agency. Ordinarily, payment will be made within 30 days after receipt of a proper request for reimbursement.
(2) The Grantee shall 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) Payment shall be made by electronic funds transfer.
(4) Standard Form 270, “Request for Advance or Reimbursement,” or other format prescribed by the Agency shall be used to request grant reimbursements.
(5) For renewable energy system feasibility studies, 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 a feasibility study acceptable to the Agency has been submitted.
(g)Deobligation of grant funds. Funds remaining after all costs incident to the project have been paid or provided for are subject to deobligation.
(h)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. Grantees shall constantly monitor performance to ensure that time schedules are being met, projected work by time periods is being accomplished, financial resources are being appropriately expended by contractors (if applicable), and any other performance objectives identified in the scope of work are being achieved. 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 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 provides recourse or a defense to the grantee should the grantee conduct unapproved activities, engage in unethical conduct, engage in activities that are or give the appearance of a conflict of interest, or expend funds for unapproved purposes.
(i)Federal financial reports. A SF-425, “Federal Financial Report,” and a project performance report will be required of all grantees 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 the grantee and approved by the Agency. The final federal financial report must be submitted to the Agency within 90 days after the feasibility study has been completed.
(j)Performance reports. Grantees must submit to the Agency, in writing, semiannual performance reports and a final performance report. Grantees are to submit an original of each report to the Agency.
(1)Semiannual performance reports. Each semiannual performance report shall describe current progress and identify any problems, delays, or adverse conditions, if any, which have affected or will affect attainment of overall project objectives or prevent meeting time frame for completion of the feasibility study within 2 years. This disclosure shall be accompanied by a statement of the action taken or planned to resolve the situation.
(2)Final performance report. A final performance report, which will serve as the last semiannual performance report, will be required within 90 days after the feasibility study has been completed. The final performance report shall summarize any problems, delays, or adverse conditions, if any, which have affected the project objectives or prevented meeting time frames for completion of the feasibility study. The final performance report should indicate if the grantee intends to proceed with the construction of the project.
(k)Final deliverables. Upon completion of the feasibility study, the grantee shall submit the following to the Agency:
(l)Renewable energy feasibility studies. Beginning the first full year after the feasibility study has been completed, grantees shall report annually for 2 years on the following:
(1) Is the renewable energy system project for which the feasibility study was conducted underway? If “yes,” describe how far along the renewable energy system project is (e.g., financing has been secured, site has been secured, construction contracts are in place, project is completed).
(2) Is the renewable energy system project complete? If so, what is the actual amount of energy being produced?
(m)Other reports. For clarification purposes, the Agency may request any additional project and/or performance data for the project for which grant funds have been received.
(n)Grant close-out and related activities. Grant close-out and related activities shall be performed in accordance with the Departmental Regulations. In addition, failure to submit satisfactory reports on time under the provisions of paragraphs (i) through (m) of this section may result in the suspension or termination of a grant. The provisions of this section apply to grants and sub-grants.
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