Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: When I try downloading the SF-424 and SF-LLL forms from the IE-Exchange FOA landing page, I get the following error, "There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired." Please help.
Answer 1:

We recommend you first try a different browser like Edge or Chrome. If that does not work, go to your browser ‘settings’ or ‘more’ (top right corner) depending on the browser and ‘clear browsing data’ and depending on the browser either select ‘cookies and other site data’ or ‘clear data’. For Microsoft Edge instructions, see Delete Cookies in Microsoft Edge.  For Chrome instructions, see Clear Cache and Cookies from Chrome.

 

Question 2: I was wondering if a site has to have a NEPA analysis completed prior to applying for funding? Or is this done after an award is made?
Answer 2:

Per Section IV.H.3. (beginning on page 61), “DOE’s decision whether and how to distribute federal funds under this FOA is subject to NEPA” and DOE must conduct a NEPA review for all proposed project activities prior to authorizing the use of federal funds.

 

Section VI.B.6. states, “DOE’s decision whether and how to distribute federal funds under the subject FOA is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act as codified and amended at 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq.. NEPA requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making processes by considering the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions. For additional background on NEPA, please see DOE’s NEPA website, at http://energy.gov/nepa.

 

While NEPA compliance is a federal agency responsibility and the ultimate decisions remain with the federal agency, all Applicants selected for an award will be required to assist in the timely and effective completion of the NEPA process in the manner most pertinent to their proposed project. If DOE determines certain records must be prepared to complete the NEPA review process (e.g., biological evaluations or environmental assessments), the costs to prepare the necessary records can be included as part of the proposed project budget.”

 

If selected, each Applicant will be required to complete an environmental questionnaire and provide as much information as possible to allow DOE to make a NEPA determination. Depending on the scale of the project, the technology, and site-specific environmental considerations,  a NEPA a determination may be able to be made prior to award. However, if a NEPA determination cannot be made prior to award, environmental studies or analyses may be required to support a determination, and therefore, incorporated as part of the grant agreement. Note that until DOE has made a final NEPA determination, only activities that have been determined to not have an adverse effect on the environment or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives prior to DOE completing the NEPA review process, would be allowed and all other federal and cost share funds would not be authorized until a final NEPA determination has been made.

 

As such, NEPA studies or analysis need not be completed prior to applying for funding; however, environmental factors need to be considered and DOE must conduct a NEPA review for all proposed project activities prior to authorizing the use of federal funds.

 

Question 3: I work for a Tribal community in Alaska that has received funding from the Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands in 2020, which they used for an energy efficiency project. They may be interested in the Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands for 2024, but we are concerned about the new applicant eligibility. Are these programs different from each other, so the Tribe is considered a new applicant under the Clean Energy Technology Deployment grant and therefore eligible?
Answer 3:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the limited information provided in your question:

 

The Applicant Eligibility requirements have not changed between the 2020 and 2024 FOA as they are defined in statute. Eligibility for award under both FOAs remains “restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.”

 

If your question is in reference to Section II.A.3. (New Applications Only) which states, “DOE will accept only new applications under this FOA. DOE will not consider applications for renewals or continuations of existing DOE funded awards through this FOA”:  Applications for similar activities would be eligible provided it is not a renewal or continuation of an existing DOE funded award and the Applicant and the proposed project met all other requirements of the FOA.

 

If you are referring to whether the Tribal community would be considered a new Applicant as it refers to the Program Policy Factors (Applicants who have not previously received a grant from the Office of Indian Energy): The Tribal community would not be considered a new Applicant as the community received a prior grant.

 

The FOAs are similar; however, not identical. It is therefore essential you review the FOA to determine whether the Tribal community and the proposed project meet the requirements of DE-FOA-0003298.

 

If the above does not answer your question, please clarify your question.

 

Question 4: I am reaching out because I am seeking clarification of the “Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands—2024” FOA that was issued on February 27, 2024. Specifically, I am inquiring about whether the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs considers nuclear energy to be considered within the definition of “clean energy generating system.” I understand that within the FOA, “clean energy generating systems” are defined as (1) renewable energy systems or (2) combined heat and power systems using renewable fuels, however, the definition does not precisely define other sources of low-carbon emission energy sources such as nuclear. It will be incredibly helpful if you can provide any additional information to understand whether nuclear energy projects may qualify for this FOA. I look forward to hearing from you and please let me know if you need any further information.
Answer 4:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the limited information provided in your question:

 

As defined under Section I.B. and under Appendix A, ““Renewable energy system(s),” for the purposes of this FOA, include systems for: (1) electric power generation; and/or (2) heating or cooling systems.

(1) Renewable energy system(s) for electric power generation include, but are not limited to, photovoltaic (solar electric), biomass (including waste to energy), wind power, hydropower (diversion, run-of-river, small impoundment and incremental), or other renewable energy hybrid systems for electricity power generation. Note that, for purposes of this FOA, ground or air source heat pumps are considered an energy efficiency measure.

(2) Heating or cooling system(s) include, but are not limited to, the use of biomass for high efficiency combustion systems (i.e., stoves and boilers), active solar thermal systems for space or water heating, wind energy for heating, direct-use hydrothermal (geothermal) resources for water and space heating, or other renewable energy hybrid systems for heating and/or cooling.”

 

Also as defined under Section I.B. and Appendix A, ““Combined Heat and Power System(s),” for the purposes of this FOA include, but are not limited to, integrated systems that simultaneously generate heat and power using energy efficient turbines, reciprocating engines, micro-turbines, fuel cells, or waste heat recovery systems (capturing heat discarded by an existing process and using that heat directly or to generate power). Combined heat and power systems may be fueled by any fuel source (natural gas, landfill or sewage gas, fuel and gas oils, coal, lignite, coke, biomass or biogas, renewable natural gas, renewable hydrogen, solid waste, waste gases, or waste process heat).”

 

Based on the above definitions, nuclear would not be considered a renewable energy system or combined heat and power system.

 

Question 5: Can you please tell what requirements need to be met or what should be included in the Design and Engineering File? We are looking to install solar on Tribal buildings and have a feasibility analysis completed.
Answer 5:

Per Section I.B. (page 10 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) document), “To be eligible, all proposed projects must have:

(1) Completed energy studies and analyses (comprehensive feasibility study and/or energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s)), and

(2) Completed development (pre-construction) activities, and design and engineering (except final design and engineering).

 

Only final design and engineering activities directly resulting in the installation of clean energy technology or infrastructure, or verification of the actual energy generated, displaced, or saved (amount, cost, and percentage), are allowable activities under this FOA (see Section I.C., Applications Specifically Not of Interest).”

 

Specifically, per Section IV.C.18. (beginning on page 58 of the FOA document), “All Applicants must provide a Design and Engineering File consisting of completed design and engineering (except final design and engineering) documents that may include, but are not limited to, detailed engineering drawings, interconnection studies and/or agreements (if applicable), detailed materials and equipment lists, hardware specifications, warranties, and any other design or engineering data to supplement the Technical Volume. The Design and Engineering File supplements the Technical Volume in addressing the Technical Review Criteria included in Section V.A. of the FOA.”

 

In addition to the above requirements, please review those specific to the particular Subtopic Area of interest (Section I.B.) and the entire FOA to ensure your project meets all requirements.

 

Question 6: Is the installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargers for commercial revenue generation on a business owned by the Tribe eligible?
Answer 6:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the limited information provided in your question:

 

As described in Executive Summary (page 1) and Section I.A. (page 8) of the FOA, applications are being solicited to: to: (1) install clean energy generating system(s) and energy efficiency measure(s) for Tribal Building(s) (Topic Area 1); or, (2) deploy community-scale clean energy generating system(s) or community energy storage on Tribal Lands (Topic Area 2); or, (3) install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple Essential Tribal Buildings during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience (Topic Area 3); or, (4) provide electric power to unelectrified Tribal Buildings (Topic Area 4).

 

Therefore, unless the EV chargers meet the Topic Areas above and as described in the FOA document, they would not meet the intent of the FOA. Further, per Section I.C. Applications Specifically Not of Interest, “Applications for commercial or utility-scale projects intended solely for revenue generation through the export of electricity off Tribal Lands for commercial sale” are not of interest. [Emphasis Added]

 

Question 7: The DOE grant program under DOE-FOA-0003298 in its Cost Share Reduction Request Template and Instructions on page 2 Factor 1 Poverty Rate instructs an applicant tribe to use the webpage My Tribal Area (www.census.gov/tribal/) Economy category to determine whether the applicant tribe is eligible for a cost share reduction. However, My Tribal Area reflects 0 population for our Tribe and the Economy category has no information. The Tribe has petitioned the U.S. Census Bureau since the 2000 census to accurately report the Tribes population. In 2024 the U.S. Census Bureau agreed to report the population as 14. However, this information is not available on the My Tribal Area webpage. Will DOE accept the U.S. Census Bureau tract poverty report for the Tribe’s Reservation as sufficient for the Cost Share Reduction application?
Answer 7:

The Alternate Data Option Instructions on page 4 of the Cost Share Reduction Request Template states, “If an Applicant does not qualify for a cost share reduction based on the Census Bureau’s My Tribal Area and ACS Data Profiles by State data, the Applicant has the option to use self-reported data for the poverty rate and median household income of the tribal community(ies) where the project will be located. See Question #7 of the Cost Share Reduction Request template below for instructions.”

 

And Question #7 states, “If an Applicant does not qualify for a cost share reduction based on the Census Bureau’s My Tribal Area and ACS Data Profiles by State data (Question #3 through Question #6 above) or the data is unavailable, the Applicant has the option to use self-reported data for the poverty rate and median household income of the tribal community(ies) where the project will be located. If you wish DOE to consider a source other than on the Census Bureau’s My Tribal Area and ACS Data Profiles by State data, please provide the following information.” [Emphasis added]

 

Based on the above, the Tribe may provide self-reported data [or other sources of data] to support their request; however, per Section III.A. of the Funding Opporutnity Announcement, “DOE will not make sufficiency determinations prior to an application being submitted.

 

Question 8: The Tribal Housing Authority has been awarded a planning grant via the Department of Interior (DOI) for a community solar grant program under the Tribal Electrification Program umbrella. Would that funding disqualify the Housing Authority or Tribe from consideration for your grant?
Answer 8:

Receipt of funding from another federal agency would not disqualify the Housing Authority or Tribe from submitting an application under the subject Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).  However, (1) the project being proposed under this FOA must be distinctly different from the project for which you were awarded funding from DOI, or (2) if the project being proposed under this FOA and the DOI project are the same, the DOI funds must either be proposed as an additional federal funds against the total project costs or (b) as non-federal cost share (see below).

 

As stated in Section IV.C.15 of the FOA, all Applicants are required to submit a Potentially Duplicative Funding Notice as part of their application. Specifically, “If the Applicant or Project Team member has other active awards of federal funds, the Applicant must determine whether the activities of those awards potentially overlap with the activities set forth in its application to this FOA. If there is a potential overlap, the Applicant must notify DOE in writing of the potential overlap and state how it will ensure any project funds (i.e., recipient cost share and federal funds) will not be used for identical cost items under multiple awards. Likewise, for projects that receive funding under this FOA, if a Recipient or Project Team member receives any other award of federal funds for activities that potentially overlap with the activities funded under the DOE award, the Recipient must promptly notify DOE in writing of the potential overlap and state whether project funds from any of those other federal awards have been, are being, or are to be used (in whole or in part) for one or more of the identical cost items under the DOE award. If there are identical cost items, the Recipient must promptly notify the DOE Contracting Officer in writing of the potential duplication and eliminate any inappropriate duplication of funding.”

 

Further, Section II.B. under Cost Sharing states, “If funds from a federal source are being proposed either as additional federal funds against the total project costs or as non-federal cost share, as allowed by law, the Applicant must provide a commitment letter from the federal agency as part of the application that specifically commits those funds and identifies the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used for the project being proposed. Additionally, if those funds are to be used as non-federal cost share, the commitment letter must also include the excerpt from the statutory authority that allows those funds to be used as non-federal cost share. These commitment letters will be reviewed to determine allowability, by DOE Legal Counsel and the Contracting Officer, prior to accepting funds as either additional federal project funds or non-federal cost share from other federal sources.”

 

Question 9: Our Tribal College is a 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Institution and a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation incorporated in the state and operated by multiple Tribes. We understand that the "DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted"; however, we are wondering whether the Tribal College campus buildings would be considered "tribal buildings", or "essential tribal buildings" as defined in this FOA. From our understanding, the land on the Tribal College’s campus would be considered "Tribal Lands" because it is land "held in fee simple (purchased or owned) by an . . . Intertribal Organization". According to the definition of "Tribal Buildings" for this FOA, a "Tribal Building(s)" is "single or multiple buildings located on Tribal Lands, where the eligible tribal entity has or has been granted certain rights and duties, specifically the ability to exercise authority, direction, and control over the project". So, it seems like the Tribal College’s campus buildings would be considered "Tribal Buildings" under this FOA. Is that correct? Additionally, if these buildings are considered "Tribal Buildings" it is unclear from our understanding whether they'd be considered "Essential Tribal Buildings" since those are Tribal Buildings "necessary for providing essential services, where “essential services” for the purposes of this FOA means services that, if interrupted, would endanger the life, health, or personal safety of the whole or part of the tribal community". The Tribal College does have buildings which provide "essential services" to campus community members, and many of those community members are students that are individual Indians who are enrolled members of federally recognized Tribes from around the state and country. And so, in this instance, would campus community members be considered "part of a tribal community" as defined in the FOA for purposes of establishing "Essential Tribal Buildings" as defined in the FOA?
Answer 9:

As stated, per Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the information provided in your question:

 

Provided the Tribal College’s buildings are located on Tribal Land and the eligible tribal entity has been granted certain rights and duties as defined in the FOA, those buildings would be considered Tribal Buildings. Students who are enrolled members of federally recognized Tribes would be considered part of the tribal community for the purpose of establishing “Essential Tribal Buildings” as defined in the FOA.

 

Question 10: 1) Our tribe is stretched very thin. Would the grant cover the cost of hiring individuals to oversee project development and implementation? 2) Do you anticipate that this opportunity will be offered again in 2025 or 2026? 3) While we would ultimately be responsible for the cost share, could it be provided by a local utility company that commits to provide the funding should the grant be awarded? 4) Could a non-tribal entity be considered a “Participant” (e.g. a local utility company)? 5) What is the process for submitting a request to have the cost share reduced to 10%?
Answer 10:
  1. Costs for project oversight and grant management, such as direct personnel costs, are allowable costs under the grant. If, however, those activities were conducted by a consultant or outside firm, those costs would be considered contractual.
  2. Although similar deployment funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have been issued multiple times over the last 15 years, whether they will be issued in the future is dependent on numerous considerations, including mission priorities and availability of annual appropriations.  We cannot, therefore, state whether they will be offered in 2025 and 2026.
  3. Page 6 of the FOA states, “Cost share commitments cannot be dependent on some future event, such as receiving a grant, obtaining a loan, monetizing tax incentives, or securing an investor. Furthermore, although the cost share requirement applies to the project as a whole (including work performed by members of the Project Team other than the Recipient) the Applicant is ultimately and legally responsible for providing the entire amount of cost share required, if an award is made, even if the cost share is being provided by a Subrecipient(s).” Therefore, cost share may be provided by project team members; however, cost share must come from non-federal sources and be clearly identified in the application, unless otherwise allowed by law. For more on Cost Sharing, see Section III.B. of the FOA.
  4. The Applicant must be an eligible Tribal entity; however, there are no specific requirements or prohibitions on who the Tribe or other eligible Applicant chooses as project participants. Therefore, a non-tribal entity can be considered a “Participant” (e.g., a local utility company).
  5. The process for requesting a cost share reduction from 20% to 10% is described under Section III.B.2. of the FOA. The Cost Share Reduction Request Template and Instructions can be downloaded from IE-Exchange at https://ie-exchange.energy.gov under Application Forms and Templates.

 

Question 11: I am reaching out in regards to DE-FOA-0003298 for Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands. Our company is based out of Massachusetts, but we are developing waste to energy plants to place in Ghana as a renewable energy solution. Would we be eligible for this specific grant? Thank you in advance.
Answer 11:

As stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.”

 

For more information, please see the FOA at ie-exchange.energy.gov.

 

Question 12: Our Tribally-owned lumber mill would like to develop a wood-fired Combined Heat & Power (CHP) energy system to: 1. Make productive use of bark & mill waste, 2. Reduce propane consumption by approximately 3 million gallons per year, and 3. Generate approximately 7,600 MWh of electricity each year. Would the Tribally-owned lumber mill be eligible to apply for Tribal Clean Energy Technology Deployment funds? Please advise.
Answer 12:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the limited information provided in your question:

 

Per Section III.A. (Eligible Applicants) of the FOA (page 31), “In accordance with EPAct 2005 authorities and consistent with 2 CFR § 910.126(b), eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.” Based on the above, a Tribally-owned company would not, in and of itself, be eligible; however, per page 32 “Applications may also be submitted on behalf of Indian Tribe(s) by an authorized “Tribal Organization”, provided evidence of that authority is included as part of the application.” See the definition under Section III.A. or Appendix A of the FOA.

 

Per Section I.B. of the FOA (page 11), “Clean Energy Generating System(s)” for the purposes of this FOA include: (1) renewable energy system(s), or (2) combined heat and power system(s) using renewable fuels such as biomass, biogas, renewable natural gas, or renewable hydrogen. See definitions under Appendix A.” [Emphasis added] Therefore, provided the Applicant and application meet all the other requirements of the FOA, a “combined heat and power system(s) using renewable fuels such as biomass would be eligible under specific Subtopic Areas. Please review the Subtopic Areas described in the FOA and the associated Subtopic Area requirements to see if the planned project meets those requirements.

 

Question 13: Will this grant program be available in future years? If so, for how many years? Knowing this will help the Band plan for implementing clean energy projects.
Answer 13:

Similar deployment funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have been issued multiple times over the last 15 years; however, whether they will be issued in the future is dependent on numerous considerations, including mission priorities and availability of annual appropriations.  We cannot, therefore, state whether they will be offered in future and if so, for how many year.

 

 

Question 14: Our tribe has a comprehensive feasibility study completed in 2014 and titled Alternative Energy Study. While the 2014 study has a lot of good relevant information, some things have changed in the past decade. Should an amendment to the feasibility study be prepared to better support an application for DE-FOA-0003298? What information would be helpful or required in an amendment to the comprehensive feasibility study?
Answer 14:

Although it is ultimately the tribe’s decision whether to obtain an amendment to its comprehensive feasibility study, we provide the information below to assist the tribe in making that decision.

 

Per Section I.B. of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), each Subtopic Area requires a comprehensive feasibility study, except Subtopic Area 1.b. (Energy Efficiency Measure(s)), which requires an energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s). By way of example, if the tribe intends to submit an application under Subtopic 1.a., it needs to assure the required comprehensive feasibility study “clearly identifies the need, demonstrates the rationale for selecting the proposed clean energy generating system(s) as opposed to other options, demonstrates the availability of the resource, demonstrates the technical and economic viability, including interconnection analyses (if applicable) financial sustainability, of the proposed clean energy generating system(s).” As such, if the current feasibility study needs amending, it should address the items above as required for the specific Subtopic Area of interest.

 

Further, be aware that in addition to a comprehensive feasibility study, applications submitted under the FOA are also required to include completed development (pre-construction) activities, and design and engineering (except final design and engineering). See page 10 of the FOA and each Subtopic Area under Section 1.B. The completed design and engineering (except final design and engineering) may include, but is not limited to, detailed engineering drawings, interconnection studies and/or agreements (if applicable), detailed materials and equipment list(s), hardware specifications, warranties, and any other design or engineering data to supplement the Technical Volume.

 

Question 15: I am working on a facility scale project to bring power and heat to multiple structures operated by the Tribe’s Environmental Protection Department. The Tribe’s Environmental Protection Department has identified a grid-tie solar system to power the structures and renewable biomass boiler for heating the structures. Which Topic under DE-FOA-0003298 best fits this project?
Answer 15:

As stated, per Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the information provided in your question:

 

Assuming the buildings identified do not comprise a “substantial” number of Tribal Buildings within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load”, then the proposed project would be facility scale and, as described, may fall under Topic Area 1.a. (Clean Energy Generating System(s)), where ““Clean Energy Generating System(s)” for the purposes of this FOA include: (1) renewable energy system(s), or (2) combined heat and power system(s) using renewable fuels such as biomass, biogas, renewable natural gas, or renewable hydrogen.”

 

Please review the requirements of Subtopic Area 1.a. and the entire FOA to ensure the planned project meets those requirements. Note that per Section I.B. of the FOA (page 10) to be eligible, all proposed projects must have: (1) Completed energy studies and analyses (comprehensive feasibility study and/or energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s)), and (2) Completed development (pre-construction) activities, and design and engineering (except final design and engineering).

 

Question 16: Our organization is dedicated to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship in our community. Our proposed program aims to address the critical need for skilled professionals in the energy sector while also implementing innovative waste management solutions. As part of this initiative, we are seeking funding of $250,000 to acquire three electric trash trucks to revolutionize waste collection in our community. Thank you for considering our grant proposal and for your commitment to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship in our community.
Answer 16:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the information provided in your question:

 

Per the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), page 31, under section III A. Eligible Applicants, “In accordance with EPAct 2005 authorities and consistent with 2 CFR § 910.126(b), eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.” Unless your organization falls under one of these eligible applicants, your organization would not qualify.

 

Further, the subject FOA is solicitating applications to: “(1) install clean energy generating system(s) and energy efficiency measure(s) for Tribal Building(s) (Topic Area 1); or, (2) deploy community-scale clean energy generating system(s) or community energy storage on Tribal Lands (Topic Area 2); or, (3) install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple Essential Tribal Buildings during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience (Topic Area 3); or, (4) provide electric power to unelectrified Tribal Buildings (Topic Area 4). The acquisition of three electric trash trucks, as described, does not appear to meet the type of applications being sought.

 

Finally, per the Executive Summary of page 3, “Applications must be submitted through IE-Exchange at https://ie-exchange.energy.gov, DOE’s online application portal. DOE will not review or consider applications submitted through other means.”

 

Please review the FOA for additional requirements to determine whether the proposed project meets the intent and requirements of the FOA.

 

Question 17: Do the grant funds have to be expended on trust land or just lands owned by the Tribe?
Answer 17:

Per the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), page 31, under section III A. Eligible Applicants, “In accordance with EPAct 2005 authorities and consistent with 2 CFR § 910.126(b), eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.” Unless your organization falls under one of these eligible applicants, your organization would not qualify.

 

Section III.A. (Eligible Applicants) beginning on page 33 and Appendix A of the FOA provide the definition of Tribal Lands. Specifically,

“Tribal Lands,” for the purposes of this FOA, is defined as: (a) “Indian land” (see definition below); (b) lands held in fee simple (purchased or owned) by an Indian Tribe, Intertribal Organization, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant; (c) lands held under a long-term land lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project) by an Indian Tribe, Tribal Energy Development Organization, or other eligible Applicant; and (d) land that was conveyed to a Native Corporation pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq.) and subsequently conveyed to another entity, provided that entity is either a Native village or Tribal governmental entity or the land is held, invested, managed for and on behalf of a Native village or Tribal governmental entity.”

 

Therefore, funds do not necessarily need to be expended on ‘trust land or just lands owned by the Tribe. But the project must be located on Tribal Lands which may include trust land, lands held on fee simple (owned) by the Tribe, held under a long-term land lease, or land that was conveyed to a Native Corporation pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement and subsequently conveyed as detailed above. See the FOA for additional definitions.

 

Question 18: Is there a teaming list for DE-FOA-0003298 or another way our company can express our interest in participating in potential applications for this funding opportunity?
Answer 18:

There is not a teaming list for Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0003298. To participate as a project team member in an application you would need to establish a business relationship directly with an eligible applicant.

 

Question 19: Are studies needed to apply for these funds? We have a preliminary site, electrical load and cost for the project, are additional feasibility and structural studies needed as well prior to submission?
Answer 19:

Please see the answers to Question #5 and Question #14.

 

Question 20: The Tribe is interested in applying for Grant DE-FOA-0003298. I have a couple of questions about the resolution being submitted. 1) Identify the type of cost share being committed (donated time, equipment use, unrecovered fringe benefit costs or unrecoverable indirect costs, and cash or in-kind provided by a third party). 2) Commit the use of the Tribal Land and/or Tribal Buildings for the proposed project.
Answer 20:

Thank you for your interest. Please find below response to your questions.

 

  1. Commitments of donated time, equipment use, unrecovered fringe benefit costs or unrecoverable indirect costs by the Applicant are technically considered cash for budgetary purposes, whereas contributions of similar types of cost sharing by a third party are considered in-kind contributions. Notwithstanding, please identify the types and sources of cost share in the Tribal Council Resolution and as stated under item 7 on page 49 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), regardless of the source of that cost share, the Applicant is “ultimately and legally responsible for providing the entire amount of cost share required, if an award is made, even if the cost share is being provided by a Subrecipient(s)” and must “[c]ommit to the total amount of cost share (specific dollar amount or up to a maximum amount and percentage of total proposed project costs)”.

 

  1. A specific tract of land or building proposed as part of the project must be identified within the application; however, the Tribal Council Resolution need only commit that land or building(s) and as specified under number 9 on page 49 of the FOA, “[a]ffirm that the project is on Tribal Land as that term is defined in this FOA” and as specified under item 10, affirm “that the building(s) is a Tribal Building(s) (Topic Area 1 and Topic Area 4) or an Essential Tribal Building(s) (Topic Area 3), as those terms are defined in this FOA”.

 

Question 21: We are helping a Tribe prepare a proposal for the DOE grant program under DOE-FOA-0003298. The tribe is seeking to deploy residential solar+storage systems at the homes of at-risk elders and community members to enhance community resilience. Can you confirm this type of project would fall under the Subtopic Area 3b "Tribal Community Resilience" as it is an integrated system, and also would be deployed at a substantial level of impact in a community as 100% of the most vulnerable households would be the recipients of the systems?
Answer 21:

As stated in Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the limited information provided in your question:

 

Provided the proposed project meets the requirements of an integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid), subtopic Area 3.b. would apply if (1) the proposed system powered a ““substantial” number of Essential Tribal Buildings within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load, or an entire tribal community for community resilience, where for the purposes of this FOA, “substantial” means of “ample or considerable amount”” and (2) “[a]n explanation as to how the proposed project meets the “community-scale” requirement” is included as part of the Technical Volume and specifically addresses the “substantial” aspect of the proposed project. [Emphasis added]

 

If “100% of the most vulnerable households” equates to a “substantial” number of Essential Tribal Buildings within a community, or a “substantial” portion of the community’s energy load, then the proposed project would meet that requirement for Subtopic Area 3.b. Conversely, if the proposed project does not meet the requirement of ”substantial”, you may wish to consider Subtopic Area 3.a. (Powering Essential Tribal Building(s)).  

 

Question 22: Our utility is a distribution utility owned by the Federal Government, managed by the Tribe under a Public Law 93-638 contract under the authority of the Self Determination Education and Assistance Act. We are looking for alternative funding sources to remediate the economic impact of the cost of system repairs and the cost of a mobile substation which will allow us to provide reliable electrical service in the event of an emergency and planned system repairs. We are interested in applying for a mobile substation with the Tribe. Below are our questions. 1) The mobile substation may fit the definition of delivery infrastructure and or a dispatchable standby power source/infrastructure under grant topic area 3. Does the mobile substation acquisition fit topic area 3 or 4? 2) For the purposes of the DE-FOA-0003298 grant, can the power revenues (funds paid for electrical service to the utility by individuals), be used for the purposes of the required grant match?
Answer 22:

As stated, per Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the information provided in your question:

First, per Section III.A. “eligibility for award under this FOA is restricted to: (1) an Indian Tribe; (2) Intertribal Organization; or (3) Tribal Energy Development Organization; and (4) on whose Tribal Lands the project(s) will be located.” Please review Section III.A. to ensure the applicant and the utilities service territory meet the definitions as defined within the FOA. Below are responses to your specific questions.  

 

1.           Per Section I.B.3. beginning on page 22 of the FOA, “Under Topic Area 3, the DOE Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications to install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power”, where the integrated energy system(s) “must, as a minimum, provide power to Essential Tribal Building(s) and include: (1) clean energy generating system(s); (2) controls and management system(s); and (3) energy storage system(s). Such systems may also include (4) conventional energy generation device(s); however, conventional energy generation device(s) are eligible only if used solely as a dispatchable stand-by power source.”

 

Provided an integrated energy system(s) is proposed, as stated on page 24, “Interconnection infrastructure such as distribution substations, circuits, circuit breakers, switchgear, busbars, distribution lines, distribution transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, meters, and utility poles, may be proposed under Subtopic Area 3.b., provided the proposed interconnection infrastructure is essential to the proposed project. The justification as to why that infrastructure is essential to the proposed project must be addressed as part of the Technical Volume. Note that in order for the proposed interconnection infrastructure to be eligible, it must be essential, and the land on which that infrastructure is proposed must either be (1) on Tribal Land; or (2) the necessary site access such as right-of-way agreement(s) must have been obtained prior to submitting the application.” As described, a mobile substation, in and of itself, would not meet the definition of an integrated energy system(s).  

 

Per Section I.B.4. beginning on page 25, “[u]nder Topic Area 4, the DOE Office of Indian Energy is seeking applications to provide electric power to Tribal Building(s), which otherwise would be unelectrified, by deploying (1) integrated energy system(s) (Subtopic Area 4.a.) or (2) energy infrastructure (Subtopic Area 4.b.). Projects proposed under Topic Area 4 are intended for unelectrified Tribal Building(s), where “unelectrified” means Tribal Building(s) that are not connected to (1) the traditional centralized electric power grid, and not connected to (2) to a stand-alone (isolated) microgrid that operates autonomously from the traditional centralized electric power grid.” [Emphasis added] Based on the statement that the “mobile substation which will allow us to provide reliable electrical service in the event of an emergency and planned system repairs” the buildings would not meet the definition of unelectrified for purposes of this FOA.

 

Regardless of the Subtopic Area, as stated on page 10 of the FOA, “[t]o be eligible, all proposed projects must have:

(1)  Completed energy studies and analyses (comprehensive feasibility study and/or energy audit(s) or industrial energy assessment(s)), and

(2) Completed development (pre-construction) activities, and design and engineering (except final design and engineering).”

 

2.      Regarding cost share, as stated on page 6 of the FOA, “cost share must be available or accessible at the time of submission of the application, as described below. A written assurance (e.g., commitment) must be provided at the time of application submission (see Section IV.C.6., Applicant Tribal Council Resolution or Declaration of Commitment and Cost Sharing File). The written assurance (e.g., commitment) is a binding guarantee that funds are available or, with respect to the use of equipment, contributed labor hours, or unrecovered indirect costs, accessible. Cost share commitments cannot be dependent on some future event, such as receiving a grant, obtaining a loan, monetizing tax incentives, or securing an investor” and “the Applicant is ultimately and legally responsible for providing the entire amount of cost share required, if an award is made, even if the cost share is being provided by a Subrecipient(s).” Therefore, power revenues (funds paid for electrical service to the utility by individuals), would only be eligible if those funds were available and accessible at the time of submission of the application.

 

Question 23: Would a golf course (Tribal business) be an allowed location as part of a solar deployment project? Also, we want to check eligibility for the Community-Scale generating projects (Topic Area 2). Are sites, such as well pumps, convenience store, laundromat, Tribal Government Community Building, Health Clinic, Fire Station, Preschool, library, multipurpose buildings, allowable for solar deployment?
Answer 23:

As stated, per Section III.F. Questions Regarding Eligibility (page 40) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), “DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision of whether to submit an application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.”

 

However, for your purposes in making that decision, we offer the following based on the information provided in your question:

 

A building for purposes of this FOA would typically be a structure with walls and a roof, where per Section I.B. of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA):

 

““Tribal Building(s),” for the purposes of this FOA, is a single or multiple buildings located on Tribal Lands, where the eligible tribal entity has or has been granted certain rights and duties, specifically the ability to exercise authority, direction, and control over the project. Note that ownership may be private, collective, or common and some of those rights and duties may be held by different parties. Tribal Building(s) are those where the eligible tribal entity has the authority to augment or modify the building and where the building is owned by the eligible tribal entity or tribal members or tribal organization, or the eligible tribal entity has a long-term lease (as a minimum, for the useful life of the proposed project). Tribal Buildings may include, but are not limited to, tribal member homes, schools, community buildings, clinics/hospitals, tribal government buildings, fire stations, police stations, radio stations, washaterias, utility facilities (such as water/wastewater systems), or tribal businesses.”

 

Additionally, for purposes of Topic Area 3 (Integrated Energy System(s) for Autonomous Operation), those Tribal Building(s) must be “Essential Tribal Building(s)”, which for  purposes for this FOA, are those Tribal Building(s) necessary for providing essential services. See Section I.B.3 or Appendix A for definitions. Further, for Topic Area 4 (Powering Unelectrified Tribal Buildings), those Tribal Building(s) must be unelectrified, where “unelectrified” means Tribal Building(s) that are not connected to (1) the traditional centralized electric power grid, and not connected to (2) to a stand-alone (isolated) microgrid that operates autonomously from the traditional centralized electric power grid (see Section I.B.4).

 

Based on the above, Tribal Building(s) associated with a golf course would, therefore, not be prohibited under Topic Area 1 (Clean Energy Generating System(s) and/or Energy Efficiency Measure(s) for Tribal

Building(s)) or Topic Area 2 (Community-Scale Clean Energy Generating System(s) or Community Energy Storage Deployment); however, those Tribal Building(s) associated with a golf course would not meet the requirements under Topic Area 3 or Topic Area 4.

 

For Topic Area 2 (Community-Scale Clean Energy Generating System(s) or Community Energy Storage Deployment), “All proposed projects (or buildings on which systems are proposed) must be on Tribal Lands, must be “owned or controlled” by the eligible entity, and must benefit the eligible Applicant (Indian tribe, Intertribal Organization, or Tribal Energy Development Organization) and the tribal community; however, the substantial number of buildings within a tribal community, where the energy is to be used, do not need to be “owned or controlled” by the eligible entity. See definitions under Appendix A.”

 

Therefore, provided the Tribal Building(s) meet the definition of Tribal Building(s) above and the requirements for Topic Area 2, those buildings would meet the Tribal Building(s) requirement of the FOA.