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Request For Proposals - InnovateMass
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The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek out applications to the InnovateMass program. InnovateMass provides up to $250,000 in grant funding for projects that deploy new clean energy and water innovation technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies that demonstrate a strong potential for commercialization while providing significant measurable clean energy, clean water and/or climate benefits to Massachusetts. Grant recipients are required to provide project cost share equivalent to 50% of the award. The InnovateMass program also provides no-cost third-party project management and technical support to all awardees to ensure successful projects.
This RFP provides two funding opportunities: (1) grants for clean energy and/or water innovation technology demonstration projects and (2) grants for robotics technology demonstration projects under the InnovateMass Robotics Carve-Out
Under the Robotics Carve-Out, InnovateMass will provide funding for projects that (1) demonstrate innovations in a robot’s energy supply and/or storage system; or (2) deploy robots for clean energy applications.
A successful application will propose projects that address significant energy or water-energy nexus challenges, help to grow Massachusetts’ clean energy economy, and contribute to the state’s clean energy and water innovation leadership.
FAQs have been answered below.
Budget Form (Attachment C) *UPDATED TEMPLATE
Below is the timeline for the RFP process. Please review the RFP webpage linked below for more details and information.
September 25, 2017
October 27, 2017
November 6, 2017 by 4:00 PM Eastern
*Dates after RFP Response Due Date are anticipated dates. All dates are subject to change.
Proposals must be received by MassCEC at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, November 6th by 4:00 PM Eastern. “InnovateMass Fall 2017 Application – [Company Name]” should appear in the e-mail subject line.
(All project-specific references in questions submitted have been removed.)
Could you clarify difference between the Budget Form (Attachment C) excel sheet where we define and explain our project budget, and the Budget tab in Attachment B - Project Workplan Template --- It seems like they will have similar inputs (describing who undertakes what work, and whether it is covered by grant or cost share), but the Project Workplan looks more comprehensive since it breaks it out by milestone. Is the level of detail the distinction between these two separate attachments?
The level of detail is the distinction between the two documents. The workplan is more descriptive of the tasks themselves, whereas the budget digs into the specifics of how the grant will be spent and what the cost share will go towards.
We have likely candidates for contractors to conduct the required work under our proposed project, but since the RFP is only out for a bit over a month, it seems like it'll be hard to get signed LOIs in that short of a time period; especially when we're still discussing with the potential contractors the scope of work. We've drafted LOIs and presented them to our candidates; is it an issue if we do not receive these back by the time the RFP closes?
It is more crucial to have the signed LOIs from project partners and demonstration sites, who are a more vital component of the project. Subcontractors may be finalized after the application is submitted.
Do responses to the application questions have to fit exactly in the space/boxes provided in the InnovateMass Application Form? Same question for Summary and Milestone Description columns in Attachment B: Project Workplan Template. Are there font size or line spacing limitations?
Feel free to expand the boxes as needed – there are no limitations on font sizes or line spacing. However, please do keep your answers to a reasonable length to allow for an efficient review process.
On the statement of Other Funding Sources - does the company have to name private investors?
If you are not comfortable, you do not need to name investors in the application. You may list “private capital” as a funding source.
Will each awardee have its own Program technical consultant or is there one for the entire program?
One technical consultant team supports the program. Each awardee will typically be assigned one consultant as their primary point of contact, but each consultant will support multiple grantees.
What is the definition of Related Party Labor on page 5 of the RFP in the Eligible Budget Items section?
Related Party Labor is any sub-contractor hired to support the project.
Is there a template for the Signed Letter of Intent?
No, you may draft your own letter.
What is the Concept Paper referenced on pages 9 and 16 of the RFP?
This is the same as the application form.
Is there any guidance on the # of milestones for the Project Workplan?
This is flexible depending on your project, but typically we see 10-15. This is only an initial draft workplan; each awardee will develop a final workplan with the technical consultant after being awarded.
If equipment is purchased for the project, the cost of which is included in the budget, are there any limitations on the its use after the project demo is complete?
Is there an expectation for the duration of demonstration of the project? Days, weeks, other?
Awardees have 24 months to complete their projects.
What does the letter of intent do? Does it require the partner purchase the product from my company? Do you have an example?
The letter of intent is a host site or company agreeing to partner with you for your demonstration project. It does not require them to purchase your product. For example, if you will perform a demonstration at a nursing home, the nursing home is your demonstration site, and you will need a signed letter from them agreeing to partner with you in this project and be your demonstration site.
When is the deadline to get a letter of intent, the same as the application?
Yes, the letter is part of your application package.
Our technology is a consumer product, not a project. We don't have a letter of intent. Are we still qualified?
The purpose of the InnovateMass program is to perform a demonstration project. If you are solely looking for funding for a consumer product, unfortunately that would not be appropriate for this program.
What is energy rating under section II of the application form? How can I apply it to my product?
This metric is referring to the energy efficiency rating and only needs to be included if it is relevant to your technology.
What is the robotics carve out? If a product has some robotic feature, should it be considered under the robotics carve out?
Under the robotics carve out, projects must (1) demonstrate innovations in a robot’s energy supply and/or storage system; or 2) deploy robotics technology for clean energy applications (Please see sections I and III of the RFP). Simply including a robotic feature in your technology will not necessarily make it eligible unless it is directly addressing one of the two points above.
Can you clarify demonstration project more? What constitutes a demonstration project?
The purpose of the demonstration project is to show your technology at a host site. For example, if you are applying on the basis of energy efficiency, your technology should address an existing energy efficiency problem. The application of the technology must demonstrate energy efficiency benefits. You need to find a host site partner and form an application team with them in order to apply to the program, and you will need to provide signed letters of intent from the host site agreeing to participate in the project. Some examples of past InnovateMass projects can be found on page 2 of the RFP.
While Massachusetts receives all the economic benefit since the company and project site are both located in Massachusetts, the environmental benefit is global. Is this an issue?
This is not an issue.
We have partners and/or customers in each of the three project locations, plus we have preliminary sites identified, but the sites may change. Are there consequences should the sites change after applications are due?
This is dealt with on a case by case basis. We cannot guarantee that we will approve a site change after your application submission; however, we understand that things change along the way. We may be able to be flexible if the spirit of the project stays the same and the site changes are appropriate.
With the Pitch targeted for January 2018, when is the soonest you expect the projects to begin and grant dollars to become available?
We expect to announce awards in February 2018 and begin contracting in March. You will have 6 months to complete a workplan (which you will do with the help of our technical consultant) after the award is announced. At that point, it is up to you how quickly this process is finished, and once your workplan is approved and the contract is signed, you may begin working on the project and submitting invoices.
Part of the installation process will require a 3rd party to install our signs on structures owned by our customers. Our customers will pay for this installation. Can this be included in the customer cost share commitment? I have a quote from one installer. If it's ok to include this can I bundle this with the cost for each installation?
Yes, this would count towards your cost share requirement. You may include it with the cost for each installation.
The application is not supposed to contain confidential information at all? Is the Concept Paper portion of the application public release? Can it contain information desired to be confidential?
Please do not include any confidential information in your application. Applications are presumed to be public documents.
Please verify that the prime tech developer (proposer) can receive payment for time worked on the demonstration project?
Yes, direct labor associated with the demonstration project is an eligible budget item.
Do all applicants have to demonstrate their status as "Massachusetts based companies” prior to application? Or, can the status of "Massachusetts based company” be established after application but before release of the grant funds to the company? Thus, can a non-Massachusetts based company become eligible to apply, providing they work to meet the criteria if they get selected for the award?
In order to meet this eligibility requirement, you would have to already have plans in place to relocate to Massachusetts, and make that clear in your application. The program is restricted to companies based in Massachusetts, so if you are not already in the process of relocating, you are not eligible. Please note that the InnovateMass Program will now be offered twice per year, so companies planning to move to Massachusetts in the near future may apply to a future round.