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: Is there a minimum number of employee or existing revenue number requirement for applicants?
Answer 1:

The FOA does not limit the amount of employees or existing revenue number requirement for applicants. Please see Section III A of the FOA for more information on eligibility.

Question 2: Should a corporate applicant have an academic partner?
Answer 2: Applicants to the FOA are not required to have a partner.  However, the application will be evaluted on the ability of the team to conduct the proposed approach.  Teaming arrangements are encouraged when organizations do not have the breadth of capabilities, tools, or experience required to achieve the objectives of the approach.
Question 3: Can new employees be hired subject to the award?
Answer 3: Other than approval of individuals identified as key personnel, DOE does not provide guidance on staffing/personnel for potential awards.  Applicants may choose to hire individuals post selection.  However, the application will be evaluated on the ability of the team to conduct the proposed research.
Question 4: Are there samples of winning applications from prior years?
Answer 4: Samples of winning applications are not made available to potential applicants.  Potenial applicants should be responsive to the topic area, address all evaluation criteria, and follow required content and form identified in the FOA document.
Question 5: Are the awards going to be distributed equally between different sub topics? In the recent past many grants have gone to OLED research.
Answer 5: Buildings does not have a predetermined outcome (either # selections or funding amounts) for the distribution of LED/OLED.
Question 6: Can a single application apply to multiple topic areas and/or multiple subtopics? For example, an application may be related to one technology, but the technology addresses topic 1 subtopic 2, and Topic 2 subtopic 2?
Answer 6: No. A single application may not be submitted to multiple topic areas.  Each application must be unique, scientifically distinct projects. Applicants should apply to the topic area most relevant to their approach. 
Question 7: Who owns the intellectual property from publicly funded projects?
Answer 7: Intellectual property provisions are discussed in section VI.B.xi of the FOA.  Additional information is found in sections VIII. L: Title to Subject Inventions, M: Government Rights in Subject Inventions, and N: Rights in Technical Data. 
Question 8: For the last subtopic, can the field demonstration include any other sites other than cafeteria/retail?
Answer 8: No.  The only two options for this year's FOA are speciality retail shop and cafeteria/multi-purpose room.
Question 9: This question is in regard to calculating the Energy Savings technical potential. The calculation described in appendix F is a simple multiplication using a % reduction in technology efficacy. How can this be applied, for example, to Topic 1 subtopic 2 (utilization efficiency) where the energy savings are not strictly related to a reduction in efficacy?
Answer 9: For all topics, the applicant should do their best tying the approach back to energy savings potential.  As an example, better utilization of light may lead to a reduction in lighting levels.  The applicant should estimate that reduction as % energy savings.  The applicant should then apply this savings to all relevant segments and lamp types.   it is possible that many or all segments and lamp types may be relevant.
Question 10: In section III, A (Eligible Applicants) i states that individuals are eligible to apply for funding (citizens/lawful residents). Given requirements for DUNS number etc., can you comment on the possibility or feasibility of an individual as a prime recipient?
Answer 10: Individuals are eligible to apply to the FOA.  As with any applicant, the author must demonstrate the ability of the team to address the topic area, conduct the proposed approach, and meet FOA objectives.  As you rightly point out, there is a certain burden of paperwork and oversight to obtain an award.   The potential applicant must weigh the value of applying on their own.
Question 11: Would the topic of LED device development for visible-light communication fall under Topic 2 Advanced LED Lighting under the "connectivity" topic?
Answer 11: Applicants must make their own determination about whether an approach correctly addresses a topic area.  Keep in mind that the main focus of this FOA is the efficient delivery of lighting for human vision.  While connectivity is a valuable aspect that can be integrated into a luminaire, it cannot be the sole purpose of the approach. 
Question 12: Can the application focus on fundamental problems in SSL without demonstration of the practical applications?
Answer 12: This depends upon the topic area.  Topics 2-4 require greater practical application than Topic 1.
Question 13: Is there a page limit for the full application?
Answer 13: Yes.  See Section IV.C: Content and Form of the Full Application for all requirements including page limitations.
Question 14: Do you expect single PIs or multiple PIs?
Answer 14: In general, the award recognizes one Principal Investigator as the technical team lead.  This person is generally the technical interface with the Federal project monitors.  Others may be identified as task leads or key personnel in the approach. 
Question 15: Are there presentation requirements if award is granted (at completion)?
Answer 15: All anticipated reporting can be found in the file EERE Reporting Requirements Checklist under Required Application Documents of this FOA in exchange.  Additionally, the file Statement of Project Objectives Template contains requirements under E. Briefings and Technical Presentations.
Question 16: Where do advanced SSL devices - lasers, RCLEDs, SLDs fit in? On assumption energy efficiency calculation is not an issue...
Answer 16: This FOA does not include a topic area dedicated to the development of advanced devices.  One could potentially apply these advanced designs to High Efficiency LED Prototypes.  But those focus here in not the sole development of the device.
Question 17: The FOA description puts emphasis on residential and commercial buildings. However, are SSL outdoor applications also of interest (e.g. street lights, wall-wash, architectural etc)?
Answer 17: Yes.  This FOA addresses general illumination for humans utilizing solid-state lighting technology.  All applications that fit that have value.  Keep in mind that applications will be evaluated, in part, on their energy savings potential.  The proposed end-use factors into that calculation.
Question 18: Regarding budgeting, what percentage of funding is factored in for salaries?
Answer 18: The way the proposed budget is allocated among cost categories is up to the applicant to determine based on the kind of work being completed. Please see the SF424 Budget Justification File under Required Application Documents to view the various cost categories.
Question 19: How important is market applicability for "physiological impact of light"?
Answer 19: Potental applicants should attempt to address market applicability.  Approaches may be relevant to all markets or it may have specific relevance to limited markets.  The authors should discuss the impacts of their approach to relevant markets.
Question 20: Is topic 5 next gen building systems still active?
Answer 20: That topic belongs to FOA-0001825: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2018.  This FOA addresses solid-state lighting.
Question 21: For calculating the Energy Savings Technical Potential, can you provide some guidance on how these energy savings can be calculated for projects working on the topic of human physiological responses to light?
Answer 21:

Applicants should provide an analysis of the energy impacts of improved understanding of physiological responses to general illumination.  Energy savings could come from reduced uncertainty of physiological impacts which can increase adoption of energy SSL technology.  Energy savings could also be expressed in terms of comparing conventional and SSL technologies for achieving optimum lighting conditions for occupant or user well-being.   For example, if it was found that higher light levels and higher CCT during the day improve occupant health, then applicants could describe the energy benefits in terms of comparing conventional lighting technologies and SSL for providing these lighting levels.

Question 22: Is Topic 1, Subtopic 2 ("Light Utilization Efficiency") specifically oriented towards physiological impacts of light? Are projects under this subtopic that address physiological impacts (as opposed to visual impacts) given a higher priority? Additionally, is the reference to "...overlap of the delivered spectrum with the application action spectra" specific to physiological/circadian action spectra?
Answer 22: The topic "Light Utilization Efficiency" is not specifically oriented toward physiological impacts of light. Applications to this topic should work to develop a framework that considers all aspects of the lighting system efficiency, including: source efficiency, optical delivery efficiency, spectral efficiency, and intensity control. The concept of spectral efficiency, the overlap of the delivered spectrum with the application spectrum, could apply to any energy impact lighting application or mix of applications including, but not limited to: vision and visibility, physiological impacts of light (as they are currently understood), roadway safety, and more.
Question 23: What is meant by “efficient delivery”. For example, our understanding is that “efficient delivery” could be related to spectral distribution, spatial distribution, temporal distribution, or some combination. Would it be appropriate to focus on only one of those categories of light distribution, provided we could illustrate a positive impact on human vision?
Answer 23: Efficient delivery of lighting for human vision could include optimized spectral power distribution, optical distribution, and timing or temporal control. A proposal could cover one or more of these topics but must describe the innovation and energy impacts with the approach.
Question 24: How can I access the webinar slides and audio?
Answer 24: Webinar slides can be accessed by going to and clicking on "DE-FOA-0001823". Under the "Documents" portion of the announcement, click on "View Previous Versions" and there you will find the slides. The system will not show two files under that heading, which can make it confusing. Additionally, we were hopeful that the system would permit upload of the audio from the webinar; however, the audio was not a supported format.
Question 25: How do I upload my application documents?
Answer 25: Under the section titled "Full Application" there will be individual upload areas for each required document.
Question 26: What is DOEs interest level in high efficiency compact power electronics (driver) development for LED lighting in a dc micro-grid application for residential or light commercial applications? Could you refer to any past projects/work funded by DOE that is similar to this topic?
Answer 26:

DOE is not permitted to discuss the interest level as it pertains to this Topic Area. A lis of all past projects can be found in the 2018 Solid-State Lighting Project Portfolio on the DOE Solid-State Lighting website.

Question 27: Our entity will likely undergo a conversion from LLC to C Corp, with a location change, between the time of application and announcement of award. Is there anything that needs to be done at the application phase to avoid any problems with the application?
Answer 27: This should not be a problem. In the event that the company would be selected for an award and the change had been made, DOE would require updated information during negotiations. The most important area of consideration is the DUNS/SAM registration, as DOE may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements.
Question 28: Does this FOA provide any exclusions for small businesses in terms of the cost sharing requirement?
Answer 28: Cost sharing is required by topic area for all elligible applicants, as highlighted in Section II B of the FOA. There are no exclusions for small businesses in terms of this requirement.
Question 29: Can un-recovered indirect costs be used as cost share matching?
Answer 29:

Per the Cost Share tab within the Recipient and Subrecipient Budget Justification workbooks, a Recipient cannot claim “unrecovered indirect costs” as a cost share contribution, without prior approval. We would not be issuing any approvals during the application phase and it is currently undetermined if any approvals will be issued during the award negotiations.


Question 30: Can an entity or its subrecipient request reimbursement of profit/fee?
Answer 30:

Per 2 CFR 400 (g) “Non-federal entity may not earn or keep any profit resulting from Federal financial assistance, unless explicitly authorized by the terms and conditions of the Federal award”. Additionally, per 2 CFR 910.358 (d)  “Profit or Fee is unallowable for all DOE programs (with the exception of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR)) which award grants and cooperative agreements”.


Question 31: Can a subrecipient be the Principal Investigator on a project?
Answer 31:

The Government’s relationship under any Federal award vests with the Prime Recipient, not the Subrecipient. Therefore, only the Prime Recipient may be the PI under an award. A Subrecipient may be listed as a Co-PI on the project if they have key role within their portion of the project tasks.


Question 32: Our application does not include testing on any one device or technology. Are we still required to submit a U.S. Manufacturing Plan?
Answer 32:

All applicants are required to submit the U.S. Manufacturing Plan as part of their application or the application will be deemed incomplete. In the case where the applicant has determined that there will not be testing on any one device or technology then the applicant would want to submit a document titled “U.S. Manufacturing Plan” and in the text portion state “Not Applicable to Proposed Technology”.


Question 33: Is it in issue if my firm billed services to an entity for which I, personally, was a co-founder?
Answer 33: While the issue is not prohibited by Federal regulations, justifications for any and all subs would be required at the time of award negotians which would need to document that the appropriate organizational conflicts of interest steps have been taken, as well as the method of selection in order to abide with 2 CFR 200.319.
Question 34: Since there was not a concept paper phase, how do we obtain a control number to use with the titling of our documents.
Answer 34: Once an applicant clicks Apply within Exchange, a Control Number will be generated that can be used on all associated application documents.