The Agency will determine the technical merit of all proposed projects for which Complete Applications are submitted under §§4280.117, 4280.118, and 4280.119 under this subpart using the procedures specified in this section. Only projects that have been determined by the Agency to have technical merit are eligible for funding under this subpart.

Terms Used In 7 CFR 4280.116

  • Agency: The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) or successor agency assigned by the Secretary of Agriculture to administer the Rural Energy for America Program. See 7 CFR 4280.103
  • Applicant: (1) Except for EA and REDA grants, the Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business that is seeking a grant, guaranteed loan, or a combination of a grant and loan, under this subpart. See 7 CFR 4280.103
  • Energy Assessment: An Agency-approved report assessing energy use, cost, and efficiency by analyzing energy bills and surveying the target building and/or equipment sufficiently to provide an Agency-approved Energy Assessment. See 7 CFR 4280.103
  • Feasibility Study: An analysis conducted by a Qualified Consultant of the economic, market, technical, financial, and management feasibility of a proposed project or business operation. See 7 CFR 4280.103
  • Total Project Costs: The sum of all costs associated with a completed project. See 7 CFR 4280.103

(a) General. The Agency will use the information provided in the Applicant‘s technical report to determine whether or not the project has technical merit. In making this determination, 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 technical report. For guaranteed loan-only applications that are purchasing an existing RES, the technical report requirements can be provided in the technical feasibility section of the Feasibility Study, instead of completing separate technical report.

(b) Technical report areas. The areas that the Agency will evaluate in the technical reports when making the technical merit determination are specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section.

(1) EEI whose total project costs are $80,000 or less. The following areas will be evaluated in making the technical merit determination:

(i) Project description;

(ii) Qualifications of EEI provider(s); and

(iii) Energy Assessment (or EA if applicable).

(2) RES whose total project costs are $80,000 or less. The following areas will be evaluated in making the technical merit determination:

(i) Project description;

(ii) Resource assessment;

(iii) Project economic assessment; and

(iv) Qualifications of key service providers.

(3) EEI whose total project costs are greater than $80,000. The following areas will be evaluated in making the technical merit determination:

(i) Project information;

(ii) Energy Assessment or EA as applicable; and

(iii) Qualifications of the contractor or installers.

(4) RES whose total project costs are less than $200,000, but more than $80,000. The following areas will be evaluated in making the technical merit determination:

(i) Project description;

(ii) Resource assessment;

(iii) Project economic assessment;

(iv) Project construction and equipment; and

(v) Qualifications of key service providers.

(5) RES whose total project costs are $200,000 and greater. The following areas will be evaluated in making the technical merit determination:

(i) Qualifications of the project team;

(ii) Agreements and permits;

(iii) Resource assessment;

(iv) Design and engineering;

(v) Project development;

(vi) Equipment procurement and installation; and

(vii) Operations and maintenance.

(c) Pass/fail assignments. The Agency will assign each area of the technical report, as specified in paragraph (b) of this section, a “pass” or “fail.” An area will receive a “pass” if the information provided for the area has no weaknesses and meets or exceeds any requirements specified for the area. Otherwise, the area will receive a fail.

(d) Determination. The Agency will compile the results for each area of the technical report to determine how to further process an application.

(1) A project whose technical report receives a “pass” in each of the applicable technical report areas will be considered to have “technical merit” and is eligible for further consideration for funding.

(2) A project whose technical report receives a “fail” in any one technical report area will be considered to be without technical merit and is not be eligible for funding.