woodbury solar

Local governments and schools can speed solar adoption using State's master contract

The Office of Enterprise Sustainability is a small office within the State’s Department of Administration with the mission to assist state agencies in meeting sustainability goals across energy, water, solid waste, procurement, fleet, and greenhouse gas reductions—driving toward the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2025.

They now have a master contract for solar energy procurement that can speed the process for local governments and schools interested in going solar. We talked to Marcus Grubbs with the State of Minnesota Office of Enterprise Sustainability to learn more.

Why is the state interested in solar?

We go through our buildings and start with energy efficiency. One dollar in energy efficiency yields four dollar in return. After we drive down consumption we think about solar. Solar is reducing our operating costs and greening our electrical load. Solar also correlates well with our peak load so can have a positive impact on our demand charge.

What is a master contract?

A master contract is a contract created by the Office of State Procurement. A master contract is where the state prequalifies vendors. These vendors have met certain conditions around design, equipment, construction or design or professional consulting services, they’ve met qualifications and have been vetted. Entities that can access the master contract include the state and cooperative purchasing venture (CPV) members. There are 3,000 CPV members. It the case of solar, local governments and schools can put forward a site or sites to the vendors for a proposal.

What are advantages to signing onto the state’s master contract?

The biggest advantage is that we’ve already competitively bid vendors so the local government or school doesn’t have to go through a competitive bid process and you can use your local purchasing authority without a competitive bid but the state has also qualified these vendors for things such as the appropriate insurance, references, experience so you can trust that they’re qualified. Also the kind of legal procurement questions you might have or not even think of are already resolved in a master contract so you don’t have to worry about if the financing mechanism they are offering is something you can avail yourself of because if it’s available through the contract it something that is appropriate.

What is a local government or school’s first step?

Reach out to the Office of State Procurement and connect with Doug Heeschen. Doug will provide you with a site assessment checklist that asks about your utility bills, roof or ground mount. Doug will help you understand how ready you are and prepare a bid packet to those vendors who have signed onto the master contract.

Doug Heeschen
Division Procurement Coordinator
651-201-2422 | [email protected]

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