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: Does this program allow for technology innovations for monitoring systems for Solar Thermal systems? We have a local installer/engineer who has designed and is testing a solar thermal monitoring and control system. Is very interested in bringing it to market. He is currently doing a Proof of Concept study with a local thermal panel manufacturer. Please advise.
Answer 1:

Yes. Provided it is not for solar hot water and the solar thermal being referred to is for the generation of electrons to be delivered to the grid. Please refer to sections I.C-D for the Areas of Programmatic Interest.

 

Question 2: In reviewing the FOA for SunShot Incubator 9, I noticed that solar water heating is an area specifically NOT of interest.  What about solar cogeneration systems that produce both heat and electricity?  If these systems are allowed, is it acceptable to use the heat energy generated as part of the $/W cost-value calculations?  It is understood that heat on average is worth about 1/4 as much as electricity, so the value of heat output would be weighted accordingly by a factor of 0.25.
Answer 2:

As stated in Section I.C of the FOA: "The Incubator Program accepts applications from any product solution which decreases the cost of converting photons into electrons used by the grid."  The cost of heat generated for hot water applications should not be included in the $/W values.

Question 3: Am I correct in saying in order for one's project to be eligible for funding as a Phase 0, one's progress must be at level TRL 3 readiness level?
Answer 3:

To be eligible to apply under Tier 0 the applicant must have achieved Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3, described as the following:
Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept.  Active R&D is initiated.  This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology.  Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.  See APPENDIX 1: RELEVANT DOE TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVELS for a full list of Technology readiness levels

Question 5: I'm currently a 19-year-old Dutch third semester student at University College Utrecht majoring in Physics and Mathematics. I have conceptualized a system which I believe is capable of converting solar energy into electricity with both a higher overall efficiency as well as a lower cost per unit area compared to contemporary systems. I'm strongly considering materializing my idea and starting a business, but unfortunately I expect a prototype to be quite expensive due to unconventional production processes. I'll be going on exchange to UConn, Storrs next semester, which starts in January and ends in May, and therefore I'll be in the USA during the ninth edition of the SunShot Incubator initiative. Furthermore, I'm strongly considering doing a M.Sc. in either applied physics or applied mathematics in the United States after graduation. Seeing as the United States, especially some states, also enjoy more irradiance than Holland, I drew the conclusion that the U.S.A. would be a better country for my idea to come to fruition. Now, I read through the 'overview' section of the FOA document, and I'm confident my concept applies to the requirements outlined in the document. However, I still have one very important question, which is the following: am I eligible to apply for the ninth edition of the SunShot Incubator program as a Dutch student, only in possession of a J-1 exchange student visa for the duration of my exchange? Furthermore, would staying in Holland for a year due to finalizing of studies be possible, after potential acquisition of the grant?
Answer 5:

As stated in Section III.A of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) only startup businesses are eligible to apply as standalone applicants. In addition, only Project Teams led by startup businesses are eligible to apply for funding.  Please refer to Section III.A of the FOA for eligibility requirements.   

Question 6: Is this program only for Solar PV related projects? What about solar thermal or hot water systems? If not, will future programs incorporate this important additional solar industry? Can you point me to another grant program that might consider breakthrough technology in the solar thermal arena?
Answer 6: Please refer to sections I.C Areas of Programmatic Interest & I.D Areas Specifically Not of Interest.
Question 7: I am curious if a small business that designs and installs environmental graphics and wayfinding systems would be eligible for this grant? I work for our county’s Transportation Agency and we are installing a new wayfinding and signage system throughout our transit hub. Many of the signage opportunities we are looking at include solar components. I know we cannot apply, but wondering if our design firm is able to. Please advise. Thank you.
Answer 7:

As stated in Section III.A of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) only startup businesses are eligible to apply for funding as Standalone Applicants.  In addition, only Project Teams led by startup businesses are eligible to apply for funding.  Please refer to Section III.A for eligibility information. As stated in Section I.C of the FOA: "The Incubator Program accepts applications from any product solution which decreases the cost of converting photons into electrons used by the grid.

Question 8: If a start-up was awarded funding for a Tier 0 project in round 8 of the Sunshot Incubator Program, would it be possible for that same company to apply for a Tier 1 award in round 9 of the SunShot Incubator Program? Further, if such a Tier 0 project provides sufficient proof that they have made the required progress and passed the requirements of a Tier 1 award, would such a company be able to apply for a Tier 2 award during round 9 of the incubator program?
Answer 8:

 As stated on Page 7 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement, Applicants may submit an concept paper / application for a Tier 1 award even if they did not receive a Tier 0 award from a previous Incubator FOA.  Further, Applicants may apply for funding if they received a Tier 1 award under prior Incubator Programs.  However, Applicants are not allowed to apply for funding of a project or product that has already received a Tier 2 award under the prior Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Program or any SunShot Incubator Program.  Applicants that have previously received a Tier 2 award under the SunShot Incubator Program or Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Program can only apply to this program with a new product.  However, eligibility determination can only be determined after a full application and/or Concept Paper has been received and reviewed.

Question 8: I am applying for the following FOA, DE-FOA-0000923_Sunshot_Incubator_Round_9 In the Pre-Application Documentation, in the General Tab. There is a question about the Project Title (250 Max). Which one is the correct title a) DE-FOA-0000923_Sunshot_Incubator_Round_9 or b) My own made up title that would be unique from others The second question is that if the name of the Lead Organization in the Concept Paper, can later on change during the Full Paper submission. Thank your for your help
Answer 8:

A unique title is required.

It is fine if the name of the lead organization changes.

 

Question 9: 1. Involvement of foreign sub-contractor / vendor In page 33 the project document specifies that all work 100% must be carried out in the US. Does this preclude any expenditures to a foreign sub-contractor / vendor? 2. In-kind contribution We are a start-up and as such we do not yet draw salary. Can the equivalent salary expense be considered to be in-kind contribution? 3. Sub-contractors Are sub-contractors considered to be team partners who must submit application papers or just passive vendors?
Answer 9:

1)      Per Section II.A.3 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), if a foreign entity applies for funding as a prime recipient, it must designate in the Full Application a subsidiary or affiliate incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States to be the prime recipient.  The Full Application must state the nature of the corporate relationship between the foreign entity and domestic subsidiary or affiliate.  Foreign entities may request a waiver of this requirement in the Full Application.  If you would like to request a waiver see Section VIII.I. 

2)      Yes, salaries can be considered in-kind contributions (see Section III.B.4).

3)      Please refer to Section IV.D, Content and Form of Full Application, for the requirements on the full applications.

Question 10: Would technologies that convert solar thermal energy (absorption and thermal storage based) to electricity with dissipated and waste heat made available for other applications be acceptable for this FOA? This would increase the total efficiency of the system, hence we seek your guidance.
Answer 10: As stated in Section I.C of the FOA: "The Incubator Program accepts applications from any product solution which decreases the cost of converting photons into electrons used by the grid."  The cost of heat generated for other applications should not be included in the $/W values.
Question 11: Hello, I am interested to learn whether a technology that has been developed, yet never sold, is eligible for Incubator funds? This technology is patented, and has successful field trials, yet ran out of funds before any units were sold. It could use some updating to take advantage of newer materials availability.
Answer 11: As stated in Section I.C of the FOA: "The Incubator Program accepts applications from any product solution which decreases the cost of converting photons into electrons used by the grid".
Question 12: Is a technology that has been privately funded and ready to commercialize, yet has never been sold on the market due to lack of cash, eligible for the Incubator Grant?
Answer 12: As stated in Section I.C of the FOA: "The Incubator Program accepts applications from any product solution which decreases the cost of converting photons into electrons used by the grid." 
Question 15: The FOA mentions about equipment purchase as eligible expense but nothing is mentioned about software. Are software licensing/purchasing costs allowable under this program?
Answer 15:

In general the purchase of software/licensing is is allowable in accordance to the applicable Federal Cost Principles that govern the entity type. Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions.  

Question 16: Question Related to Eligibility Criteria as discussed on page 6 and 7 of the FOA: 1. Is an established non-profit entity with fewer than 500 employees eligible to propose a Tier 1-S award? Page 6 and 7 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement under Eligibility footnote 1 states that: The term “startup business” is defined as a for-profit entity… (highlight added) Further in the text under Eligibility p. 7 it is stated that: “The DOE contracting office has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE.” It is not clear whether this second statement refers to requirement around start up business being a for profit entity. The proposal we anticipate is to establish and employee/community solar business model that will help to reduce soft-costs and be a self–sustaining service/business model. As an established non-profit with less than 500 employees we have a strong foundation of innovative channels for delivery of this business service – and intend to do so on a “profitable and self-sustaining basis”. If necessary, in order to be eligible for the FOA, we are open to examining the need to establish an LLC, or an L3C. 2. At what stage would this be necessary? 3. Would an LLC, or L3C need to be indicated, in process, and/or established before a letter of intent, concept paper, full application are submitted?
Answer 16: Please refer to Section III.A of the FOA for complete information regarding eligibility.
Question 17: We would like to use a subcontractor for this proposal which is stated to have an allowable percentage of up to 40%. The question is, can a subcontractor use that money to purchase equipment that is integral to the proposed work?
Answer 17:

In general the purchase of equipment by subrecipients is allowable in accordance to the applicable Federal Cost Principles that govern the entity type. Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions.  

Question 19: I am currently an employee of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I was wondering if I am eligible to submit an incubator application for an organization I own (or am a substantial owner of).
Answer 19:

Please refer to Section III.A of the FOA for complete eligibility information.

Question 20: Does this provision only apply to hardware Tier 2 grants, or does it apply to non-hardware Tier 2S grants as well (this comes from page 7 of FOA): "Applicants may apply for funding if they received a Tier 1 award under prior Incubator Programs. However, Applicants are not allowed to apply for funding of a project or product that has already received a Tier 2 award under the prior Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Program or any SunShot Incubator Program. Applicants that have previously received a Tier 2 award under the SunShot Incubator Program or Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Program can only apply to this program with a new product.”
Answer 20:

That applies to both 2 and 2S. The same goes for tier 1, 1S, and 0. An applicant cannot apply to the same tier with the same idea that they have already been awarded for.

Question 21: I attended the SunShot Incubator 9 webinar on the 11th and then looked into the application. I have a question. How detailed cost information do you require for the concept paper?
Answer 21:

Applicants should supply enough cost information to allow someone who knows the solar industry to clearly see and understand the cost reduction potential of the product or service.

Question 22: I am looking into the eligibility of our start-up for round 9 of the SunShot initiative and just have a quick question. Section 3.A states that we must be incorporated under the laws of a state or territory in the United States. Is this at the time of submitting the initial concept paper or the full application? We are currently a start-up based in Canada but are going to start the process of incorporating in the United States in the New Year. But it is unlikely that we will be formally registered by the first deadline of January 13, 2014 for the initial concept paper. So my question is: Do we have to be formally incorporated in the United States by the first deadline of January 13, 2014 for the initial concept paper to be eligible?
Answer 22:

The applicant must meet all eligibility requirements when submitting the full application.

Question 23: I cannot find the PPT file for the Summary Slide Template on the EERE-Exchange website. Can you please direct me to it?
Answer 23: The Summary Slide template can now be found under the Required Documents.
Question 24: For FOA 923, the guidelines state that margins should be no less than 1”. However, the template provided for the Deliverables Table in Appendix 4 has a smaller margin of around ½”. Please confirm that it is acceptable for applicants to use this smaller margin for our Deliverables Table.
Answer 24: All documents submitted must conform to the specifications outlined in Section IV of the FOA.
Question 25: We just submitted our Letter of Intent and now have a few questions regarding the Concept Paper submission requirements; 1. What does "application title" mean (as listed as mandatory on the cover page)? Is "applicant title" the same as "project title" (as listed in the General tab of the eere-exchange submissions page)? And are these both different from the "company name"? 2. Is there a "Summary Slide" PPT template available to download? If so can you please direct us where it is located? 3. What is the "control number"? Where can we find our unique number? 4. Do the team member resumes need to be submitted in a specific format (aside from being one-page each)? 5. In eere-exchange "General" submissions page what kind of information are you looking for in the "Project Title" (250 max characters) and "Abstract" (4000 max characters). Is this in addition to the "Cover Page and Abstract" word doc?
Answer 25:

1.         Refers to a unique title given to the application by the applicant.

2.        The Summary Slide Template can be found under the Required documents.

3.        The control number is assigned to each unique application by eere exchange, once a new application is started.

4.        Please follow the requirements for the resume as outlined in section IV of the FOA.

5.      The title should be a unique descriptive name of the project.  Please refer to Section IV of the FOA for a description of the necessary information.  

Question 26: Hello, Our startup has limited funding at the moment. Is it acceptable to have the entire cost share requirement met using in-kind contributions from reduced personnel salaries? Thank you.
Answer 26:

Salary in-kind contributions is allowable in accordance to the applicable Federal Cost Principles that govern the entity type. Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions.  

Question 27: Hello. I was unable to attend the webinar: Title: SunShot Incubator Program Round 9: Q&A Webinar for Applicants Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST I was wondering if the webinar was recorded and, if so, where I might access an archive of it.
Answer 27:

We apologize but the webinar was not recorded. However, all questions and answers during the webinar will be uploaded as soon as possible.

Question 28: 1. We submitted our Letter of Intent last week (Dec 30th). When or how will we receive a confirmation of receipt? 2. Is a quarterly breakdown sufficient for the major deliverable summary and the deliverable table?
Answer 28:

1.  DOE will not confirm receipt of Letters of Intent. The Letter of Intent will not have a bearing on the evaluation of your Concept Paper. The Letter of Intent is simply to guage interest and inform DOE on topic areas.  

2. Yes. For more information on deliverables please refer to Section IV.D.2 of the FOA.

 

Question 29: "Question Related to Eligibility Criteria as discussed on page 6 and 7 of the FOA: 1. Is an established non-profit entity with fewer than 500 employees eligible to propose a Tier 1-S award? Page 6 and 7 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement under Eligibility footnote 1 states that: The term “startup business” is defined as a for-profit entity… (highlight added) Further in the text under Eligibility p. 7 it is stated that: “The DOE contracting office has discretion to waive this requirement if he/she determines it will further the purposes of this FOA and is otherwise in the interests of EERE.” It is not clear whether this second statement refers to requirement around start up business being a for profit entity. The proposal we anticipate is to establish and employee/community solar business model that will help to reduce soft-costs and be a self–sustaining service/business model. As an established non-profit with less than 500 employees we have a strong foundation of innovative channels for delivery of this business service – and intend to do so on a “profitable and self-sustaining basis”. If necessary, in order to be eligible for the FOA, we are open to examining the need to establish an LLC, or an L3C. 2. At what stage would this be necessary? 3. Would an LLC, or L3C need to be indicated, in process, and/or established before a letter of intent, concept paper, full application are submitted? "
Answer 29: Please refer to Section III.A of the FOA for complete information regarding eligibility.
Question 30: I'm currently a US Marine aircraft structural mechanic with a concept that I have been working on for some time now. I want to get more information about your eligibility requirements for the Sunspot program. It would be great if I could find a cost sharing opportunity that would provide the parts and materials to produce a working prototype or to fund my proof of concept stage later this year. If my concept proves feasible, it would enhance the life of the solar panels, reduce the cost of automated infrastructure and long term maintenance. The one thing that makes this system unique is the flexibility of location! Many solar panel systems today are limited to large open areas and rooftops, with assistance, I know we can produce a product that will be an infrastructure game changer in the renewable energy industry. If not eligible, are there other resources available for active duty or retired military personnel?
Answer 30:

Please refer to Section III.A for eligibility requirements.

Question 31: 1. The downloadable "Deliverables Table" template does not appear to conform with the specifications outlined in section IV of the FOA as the margins are smaller, the font type and size are different and there is no room for a control number. Should we use the template provided or create a new one? 2. Is the 4,000 character abstract required on the eere exchange submission page supposed to be identical the abstract description required on the cover page in the word doc? 3. Will we receive our unique control number after completing the submission page on the eere-exchange?
Answer 31:

1.      All required documents must conform to the specification outlined in Section IV of the FOA.

2.      Yes.

3.      The unique control number will be assigned when a new application is started.

Question 32: The applicant must meet all eligibility requirements when submitting the full application, however, this does not preclude you from submitting a letter of intent if all eligibility requirements will be met by the time the full application is due.
Answer 32:

Does the startup need to have incorporated before applying for this program?  I see that a company name is required on the LOI and while we have one in mind, have not yet formally incorporated.  Please advise as we do not want to provide false information. 

Question 33: Are the webinars that provide detail about applying to the program available online somewhere? I missed them first time around.
Answer 33: The webinar is not available online.  However, the Q&A file can be found under required FOA documents in eere-exchange.
Question 34: I was wondering if an applicant, for purposes of filing a final application, is bound to the exact team members and percentages listed in the concept paper (assuming the lead team member remains above 60%). In other words, can the team members change or be adjusted between the time that a concept paper is filed and the time that a final application is filed?
Answer 34:

The team members can change between the time the concept paper and the final application, however, eligibility requirements as specified in Section III.A of the FOA must be met.

Question 35: 1. My proposed product has the same basic role as a product already available in the market. However, it provides multiple features or capabilities not available in the market, for which demand exists in the market, and these features or capabilities will be significantly valuable and useful. Is this product disqualified as an “incremental improvement” per part A.2 on page 17 of Funding Opportunity Number DE-FOA-0000923 CFDA Number 81.087? 2. Does “current product” in part A.2 on page 17 of Funding Opportunity Number DE-FOA-0000923 CFDA Number 81.087 refer to product available by the applicant, available from any company in USA, available from any company in the world and purchasable in USA, or available from any company in the world? 3. My company used to manufacture a product with the same basic role as the proposed product, but only made a few of them, they don’t have the features of the proposed product, and we haven’t made or sold any of them for 2 full years. In this situation, would DOE consider this to be an “existing commercial product that is being sold and providing revenue to the company” (part A.1 on page 17 of Funding Opportunity Number DE-FOA-0000923 CFDA Number 81.087 )? How long does it have to be since the last time the product was sold for it not to be considered an “existing” product? 4. Part A.1 on page 17 of Funding Opportunity Number DE-FOA-0000923 CFDA Number 81.087 says the objective includes creation of new business units within an existing entity. Does this mean that the project for which funding is requested must be (1) housed in a different facility, (2) accounted for with separate financials, (3) have separate employees, (4) have separate management, and/or (5) have separate sales staff? What separations will we have to make between our current business operations and the operations that support the product for which funding is requested to qualify as a “new business unit”? If the separations are substantial, how can the burden of the required separations be minimized for small businesses? 5. A.1 on page 17 of Funding Opportunity Number DE-FOA-0000923 CFDA Number 81.087 says that proposed improvements to a product can only be considered if they are a “completely different platform” relative to existing products. In the instrumentation field, “platform” often refers to the operating system of the computer that runs the product. Is this the meaning of “platform” here? If our company’s existing products that are not at all similar to the proposed product (other than the fact that they measure photovoltaic devices) run on a Windows™ operating system, must the proposed product run on Mac™ or Linux or some other operating system?
Answer 35:

 

1. DOE cannot say if it is an "incremental improvement" or not based on your question. It is the responsibility of the applicant to prove that their improvement is not "incremental" and worth of consideration.

2. It refers to any product available for purchase that can be used in the US to drive down the installed cost of solar energy.

 

3. It is up to the applicant to present how their proposed product improves on any product in the past in more than an incremental fashion and that the proposed product is relevant to the solar industry today.

 

4. "New Business Unit" refers to a product which is new, or significantly, differentiated from another product sold by the same company which has the potential to generate a new, untapped revenue stream for the company.

 

5. For the example given, no it would not need to run on totally different systems. The proposed product needs to be substantially different than existing products the company sells, but the underlying hardware can remain the same as needed.

Question 36: In hopes of clarifying pg 65 of the FOA, I was wondering if it is necessary to register and submit both a DUNS number and SAM ID for the concept paper submission? My concern is that in the webinar and Q&A you state that applicants do not yet need to be an official business (incorporated, tax Id, etc.) however to get a DUNS number we need to submit our full legal name that is recognized by the IRS and Secretary of State.
Answer 36: Please refer to Section IV.C of the FOA for full information regarding the content and requirements of the Concept Paper.
Question 37: We do not wish our development to be idle between the time of our application and the time of the award. If the application is successful, can expenses incurred between time of Full Application and Award be counted towards applicant’s cost-share? If not, are there any other expenses prior to Award Date that can be considered as cost-share contributions? If applicant’s project requires equipment purchase, can the full cost of the equipment be charged to the project and paid (less cost-share) by DOE, or must the equipment be depreciated on a 5-year or other depreciation schedule such that applicant is reimbursed only for the amount of depreciation on the equipment during the award period?
Answer 37:

Pre award costs are generally allowable, however, costs incurred prior to selection for award negotiation will not be reimburse.  In addition, EERE does not guarantee that such costs will be reimbursed in its totally.  Further, applicants shall not begin work that may have negative effects to the environment.

 

Equipment costs are generally allowable project costs.  Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions 

Question 38: I would like to know if the cost sharing in your incubator program could be accommodated by providing appraisable equipment required for a project.
Answer 38:

In general the purchase of equipment is allowable in accordance to the applicable Federal Cost Principles that govern the entity type. Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions.

Question 39: Can we add a team member after submitting the concept paper but before full application submission?
Answer 39: Yes, you can add a team member after submitting the concept paper.
Question 40: Obviously, content will be similar in certain areas from an applicant's Concept Paper to the Full Application. I just wanted to confirm that it is permissible to re-use content where appropriate?
Answer 40: Yes
Question 41: Can graphs or screenshots be included in the Statement of Project Objectives if they are relevant/helpful in explaining tasks and outcomes? This is obviously assuming that screenshots and graphs conform to application formatting guidelines.
Answer 41: Yes, as long as it is within the page requirements.
Question 42: We came across a question--we unwittingly submitted 2 concept papers for the same tier. While both have the green light to proceed & concern different product families, we aren't sure how to proceed given two different clauses below: -An Applicant may submit a single and self-sufficient application for Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 1S, Tier 2, and Tier 2S awards. Each application must be for a completely different platform and product family. -An applicant that submits a Concept Paper for a Tier 2 or 2S award may alter their Full Application to be a Tier 1 or 1S award should the justification be adequate (such as change in work scope, subtraction of team members, etc.). However, if an applicant applies for a Tier 1 or 1S award in their Concept Paper, then they cannot submit a Full Application for a Tier 2 or 2S award. The same is true regarding switching between Tier 1 and Tier 0. If I read the 2nd paragraph correctly, we applied and successfully passed the concept paper stage, and thus are able to alter our Tier 1S to a Tier 2S. Is that correct? If this is not the correct reading, have I missed a detail that would allow us to preserve both of our apps? Or do we need to kill off one for full submission?
Answer 42: The applicant cannot turn a tier 1s to a tie 2s.  The applicant must choose one of the the two applications for submission.
Question 43: We have received “Response: Encouraged” from EERE of DOE on our Concept Paper application for SunShot Incubator Program Round 9. The application tile is “Pre-production tool development using a novel plasma charging method to control the fixed charge in the passivation films of crystalline silicon solar cells”, and the control number is 0923-1652. Currently we are preparing the full application. Before we work on budget details, we want to know the following question: We developed a small prototype tool to prove the concept of the new plasma charging method. We plan to use some parts or the whole of the prototype system for our proposed pre-production tool which would have three additional key features added to the functions of the prototype: adjustable vertical height between sample holder plate and plasma, replaceable plasma source between stationary and scanning type, and semi-automatic loading and unloading. The question is if we can use the prototype as an in-kind contribution for cost share. It would be greatly appreciated if you could let me know your answer at your earliest convience.
Answer 43:

Yes, the equipment describe may be used as in-kind cost share. Please refer to Section IV.H.1 for information on funding restrictions.  In addition, please refer to 10 CFR 600.313 regarding cost share eligibility.   

Question 44: Is there a depository for the various forms (e.g. Application for Federal Assistance SF-424) where we are to fill them out directly online? Or, are we to download them, fill them out and then upload them with the main submission?
Answer 44: Forms will need to be downloaded, filled out, and then uploaded to EERE Exchange.
Question 45: Lobbying Activity: Do we need to submit the form if we are not hiring any lobbyists?
Answer 45: Yes
Question 46: Questions Regarding Main Application Form SF 424 Q. 9. Type of Applicant – How do we determine this? Q. 11. Catalog of Domestic Assistance Number – What is this? What is the CFDA Title? Q. 13. Competition Identification Number – what is this? Q. 19. What is Exec Order 12372? How to determine if the Project is subject thereto?
Answer 46:

Q 9 refers to the type of entity that is applying.  i.e. for-profit, state government, University, etc.                                                                                     

Q 11 81.087                                                                                                                                  

Q 13 Can be left blank and the FOA number is already listed in Q 12

Q 19 Check program not covered.

Question 47: Comments on Initial Application - We received important feedback to our initial proposal. Is there an appropriate way to respond specifically to them in the Application? If so, please let us know where.
Answer 47: Applicants may address feedback in their application, as long as the application still meets all required as laid out in the FOA.
Question 48: Q1: What is “Ineligibility Disclosure” and do you have a form for this? Q2: How do I fill up for “Award Number” in Environmental Form and Budget Justification Form?
Answer 48:

1:  Please refer to Section III.C.2 of the FOA.

2: The Award number is not required at this time.  

Question 49: Regarding the Indirect Rate Agreement and the Indirect rate used in SF424, if upon review it is determined that the indirect rate used for the budget is too high, how will the allowed budget be adjusted? Will the direct costs be fixed and the overall award be reduced? Similarly, if it is determined that a higher indirect rate can be justified, will the applicant still be required to use the proposed rate? Or will some adjustment be permitted in the budget categories?
Answer 49:

If an applicant has an indirect rate agreement, the rate approved shall be used for budgeting purposes. If the applicant does not have an indirect rate agreement, the applicant will be required to submit and indirect rate proposal to justify the rate that is being used.   The budget will be reviewed during  award negotiation and the Contracting Officer will determine and communicate to the applicant if any revisions are necessary.

Question 50: Is the maximum SunShot award $1,000,000 ($1,250,000 project total, $250,000 (20%) minimum match)? Or maximum award $800,000 ($1,000,000 project total, $200,000 (20%) minimum match)?
Answer 50:

Please refer to Section III.B.1 of the FOA.

Question 51: I wonder if you can help me understand how we should approach vendor costs. A significant part of our project will be custom software development, some in-house done by our own staff, and some done via third-party vendors for e.g. web application development and payment processing (but all based in the U.S.). Are there limitations on how much of these kinds of expenses are allowable for cost sharing or reimbursement? I understand that subrecipients spending more than $100K need separate documentation in the budget, but does this rule apply to ordinary vendors?
Answer 51:

Please see Section III.A regarding Eligible Applicants, and restrictions on funding.  In addition any sub-recipient expending more than $100,000 is required to submit a separate budget justification (PMC 123.1).  For vendors and costs exceeding $10,000 will require an invoice.  For the third-party providing services, their level of involvement will determine whether they are considered a vendor, or sub-recipient.  A vendor provides “off the shelf” services that could be outsourced a number of various parties.  A sub-recipient will have a much higher level of participation and are considered an integral part of the team, which is removed the project would have difficulties moving forward.  Cost share must be in compliance with FAR 31.205 (1-52).

Question 52: I am working on the Sunshot Incubator Program Round 9 and had a question on where to find the “Other Source of Funding Disclosure” as well as “Disclosures for Eligibility”. If this is a document that we need to create, I understand, but I was hoping there was a template document that I might be able to work off of. Thank you.
Answer 52:

Please refer to Section IV.D.10 for information on the Other Source of Funding Disclosure.

Please refer to Section III.C.2 of the FOA for information on Disclosures of Eligibility.

There are no templates for the above forms.

Question 53: We submitted a concept paper for DE-FOA-0000923 and we given a response of "encouraged". We are in the process of writing the full proposal. Is it possible to change the "Project Title" from our concept paper to a different "Project Title" for our full submission?
Answer 53:

Yes you may change the title.

Question 54: Where can I find the “DOE Technical Project Officer”? The DOE Award Number (CID) is not listed nor is the FOA Number, the latter I will input manually but I am not sure where to find the CID.
Answer 54:

Both of these fields do not apply as no awards have been made.  They may be left blank.

Question 55: Our team has been optimizing using an error in the PMC123_1 file. This presents a serious problem at this stage in the process. Please advise per the below. The FOA cost share calculation in the word document doesn’t match the PMC123_1 file, “cost share” tab cell G20. [1] The FOA guidance is clear. [2] The spreadsheet calculation is Total project cost share (Awardee contribution) / Total Project costs from Summary tab.
Answer 55:

Both the equation below and the PMC 123.1 file are correct. 

 

Cell G20 calculates cost share by dividing awardee share by total project costs.  Total project costs are composed by DOE contribution and awardee contribution as stated in the FOA.

Question 56: 1) We've prepared our budget to only include personnel costs, assuming our company will cover any other costs without reimbursement from SunShot. Are there any problems with that? 2) Where can I find the ineligibility disclosure form? It is listed in the required application documents in the FOA, but is not linked on the EERE website in the required application documents. 3) For the DOE Environmental Questionnaire, what is the DOE Award Number (CID) and the DOE Technical Project Officer? And am I correct in that the Financial Opportunity is DE-FOA-0000923, and we need to enter it manually instead of using the drop-down list?
Answer 56:

1)      Costs that are not in the budget of the award cannot be reviewed for reasonablennes, allowability and allocability and therefore cannot be counted as cost share or eligible for reimbursement by DOE.

2)      Please refer to Section III.C.2 of the FOA for information on Disclosures of Eligibility.

3)      You may leave the CID number and Technical Project Officer fields blank. Yes, you are correct the FOA that you are applying to is DE-FOA-0000923.

Question 57: I was wondering which “Standard Intellectual Property (IP) Provisions for Financial Assistance Awards” form should we review?
Answer 57:

The Intellectual Property Provisions will be determined during award negotiation.  The provisions vary by recipient.

Question 58: Can the leading applicant company be changed between receiving DOE Encouragement response and submitting the full application?
Answer 58:

No.  The applicant cannot change between submission of the concept paper and full application.

Question 59: I have a question about the background section in the Project Overview. • (Mandatory) The Applicant: discuss the history, successes, and current status of the Applicant’s product development. My understanding is that we are expected to discuss the history and successes of our company and product development capability (existing innovative product line) in the section to show we have the ability to develop the proposed technology and commercialize it.
Answer 59:

Yes, you are expected to discuss the history, successes, and current status of the Applicant’s product development.

Question 60: Does the start-up need to be incorporated at time of application, or time of award? In the Q&A, there are 2 statements that I want to clarify, because they seem to say slightly different time frames on when the organization needs to be incorporated? Here is the text from the responses: " It is not necessary for an applicant to be incorporated at the time of application; however, the applicant must be incorporated by the time the award is issued, should they be selected and successfully negoiate for a DOE award. DOE encourages applicants to get incorporated as soon as possible as this process can take some time. " & " To be considered an eligible entity to receive an award, project teams must be led by a "start up company" incorporated within the U.S. at the time when the full application is submitted. " In listening to the webinar, I was under the impression the incorporation need happen by time of award, not by time of application. thank you kindly for clarifying.
Answer 60: Incorporation needs to happen by the time of award.
Question 61: Yes this was a typo, assume a project start date of Oct 1, 2014.
Answer 61:

On page 55 of the SunShot Incubator 9.0 solicitation, it states the following:

"DOE provides the following supplemental guidance on completing the SF-424:

·         Each Project Team should submit only one SF-424 (i.e., a Subrecipient should not submit a separate SF-424). Assume a project start date of Oct 1, 2013."

 

Was this a typo? Should we fill out the SF-424 with the start date of October 1, 2013, even though this date has past?

Thank you,

Question 62: The online submission of the Environmental Questionnaire form will not let you go past screen 1 without the “DOE Technical Project Officer”, how do we override this?
Answer 62:

Please list Victor Kane as the DOE Technical Project Officer.

Question 63: Understanding the goals of the SunShot initiative and that this solicitation is entirely focused on reducing the installed cost of solar, and that we are constructing our proposal as such... is it problematic that our company’s technology (on-bill financing) is equally useful for energy efficiency? We’ve gotten hint of this. Could you clarify.
Answer 63: You will be judged based on the scoring criteria, impact on energy efficiency is not a scoring criteria so will not lower or raise your score