Renewables & Resilience Incentive Program for Human Service Providers

Xcel Energy was the first investor owned utility in the country to announce a voluntary target to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 and to produce 80% renewable electricity on their electric grid by 2030. However, there is still a gap that Denver must close between Xcel Energy’s carbon reduction trajectory and the City’s community-wide renewable electricity goal. Denver has significant untapped distributed energy potential that can help to close this gap, which is a key component of the city’s 100% Renewable Electricity Action Plan.

The deployment, integration, and management of distributed energy resources (DER), such as solar, battery storage, and vehicle-to-building (V2B) electric vehicle (EV) charging, is essential to support a 100% carbon-free electric grid. Access to DERs, however, has proven to be limited for non-profit Human Service Providers (HSP) and low- and moderate-income residents in Denver. The goal of the DER Incentive Program is to increase deployments of DERs including solar, storage, and V2B EV charging installations, while supporting a clean energy workforce and relieving the energy burdens of income-qualified households and HSPs in Denver. Additionally, Xcel Energy has recently filed for a rate increase that will increase electricity costs for customers including HSPs in Denver by more than 10%.

CASR is encouraging HSPs to pursue DERs because they will deliver significant benefits to the City and its residents, including the following: 

  1. Reducing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the electric system. The carbon intensity of Xcel Energy’s electric system in 2020 was 0.474 metric tons CO2/MWh. An HSP such as a food pantry may consume about 100,000 kWh annually. Over 25 years, a solar system covering 100% of that HSP’s electricity needs would avoid about 1,185 metric tons of CO2 emissions.  
  2. Increasing the resiliency of Denver’s energy systems. On-site and community located DERs such as solar, battery storage, and V2G EV charging can be used for resiliency as backup power and for peak control to lower utility bill costs associated with energy and demand charges. Additionally, DER assets can be leveraged by the utility to provide grid services on an ongoing basis during the majority of the time that they are not required for emergency backup power. These grid services include: (1) reducing system peak and localized feeder peak demand; (2) improved renewables integration; and (3) reducing overall system costs. 
  3. Reducing utility costs to allow for greater funding towards human services. Lower operating costs for HSPs can enable more funding to go to the services they provide to the community.
  4. Evaluating strategies that lead to significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. The incentives awarded in this program will serve as valuable case studies for future efforts. 
  5. Protecting public health and survivability for communities most burdened by climate change impacts, specifically low-income communities. Emissions of greenhouse gasses cause climate change, and one result of climate change is an increase in temperatures in Denver and, specifically, more days over 90 degrees and for longer durations.  Hotter temperatures for longer periods exacerbate chronic health conditions and unhealthy living conditions for people living in low-income communities, which tend to have less green space outdoors and less access to in-home cooling (both are respites from heat). As part of the global effort to combat climate change, and in alignment with the targets set by the Paris Accord, Denver’s goal is to reduce citywide emissions 80% by 2050 to reduce this strain on residents. This program is one of many strategies Denver is implementing to achieve this goal. 

To achieve the benefits stated above, CASR has established the goal of reducing the electricity-associated greenhouse gas emissions from each HSP funded by this program by at least 20% as compared to the emissions of the estimated average annual operations without the investments provided by this program. 

CASR intends to meet this goal by offering a financial incentive encouraging HSPs to install DERs such as solar plus a battery storage system and/or V2B EV charging equipment.  The program will provide a monetary incentive for non-profit HSPs by funding up to 100% of costs associated with the installation of the DERs. Without the incentives, HSPs are unlikely to adopt DERs and the ongoing operations and maintenance activities associated with them. The incentives will ensure a more rapid market adoption, leading to greater emissions reductions sooner. The technologies included and the levels of incentives offered by will be updated regularly as market conditions change.

CASR has determined that the incentive program aligns with the Legislative Declaration establishing the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (Sec. 2-404 D.R.M.C.) as well as the Permitted Uses of Revenue in the Climate Protection Fund (Sec. 2-405 of the D.R.M.C.).

Eligibility

Incentive payment applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for consideration:

Application Step 1: Confirmation of Applicant Eligibility

  1. The proposed DERs must serve the energy loads of a building that is occupied by an organization (or in the case of a public facility, a department/agency) that is an HSP for the community (examples of HSPs are listed below). Eligible DER installations must include both of the following components:
    • Renewable power generation (e.g., solar photovoltaics)
    • Resiliency (e.g., battery storage and/or V2B EV charging)
  2. Documentation of HSP status must be submitted to CASR for consideration and approval.
    • An HSP is defined as a non-profit entity that offers critical services, examples of which may include but are not limited to:
    • Advocacy organizations
      (e.g., Community Advocacy, Social Service Advocacy, or similar)
    • Affordable housing providers
    • After-school providers
    • Childcare centers
    • Community centers
    • Community financial institutions
      (e.g., credit unions, non-profit lenders)
    • Disability service providers
    • Domestic Violence Centers
    • Emergency service organizations
    • Family support
      organizations
    • Food pantries
    • Homeless shelters
    • Hospitals, health care facilities, and clinics
    • Housing service providers
    • Immigration service providers
    • Job training and workforce development services
    • Law/legal centers (non-profit/pro-bono services to income-qualified communities)
    • Libraries
    • Mental and behavioral health facilities
    • Places of worship
    • Rehabilitation providers
    • Senior centers
    • Transitional or supportive housing (including for teens and LGBTQ)
    • Women’s or children’s shelters
    • Proof of nonprofit status must be submitted by private nonprofit organizations with the application. Any of the following is acceptable evidence of nonprofit status:
      • a reference to the applicant organization’s listing in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code;
      • a copy of a currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate;
      • a statement from a State taxing body, State Attorney General, or other appropriate State Official certifying that the applicant organization has a nonprofit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals;
      • a certified copy of the organization’s certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes nonprofit status;
      • any of the above proof for a State or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization is a local nonprofit affiliate.
    • Each request will be reviewed by CASR on a case-by-case basis and not all requests may be granted.
  3. The applicant must have a demonstrable connection to and input from the local community the HSP serves, evidenced by:
    • A narrative summary of efforts taken prior to the application to conduct community outreach and education about the proposed entity being served by this installation, and
    • Listing community‐based organizations the applicant has partnered with (including letters from those organizations to verify the partnerships) in support of the proposed entity being served by this installation.
  4. The building must be an Xcel Energy customer located in Denver, Colorado.
  5. The applicant must be the building owner.

     

    Application Step 2: DER Installation Project Scope

  6. The applicant must be able to implement and complete project within 24 months from date of contract execution.
  7. The applicant must have obtained technical expertise and quotes to determine the best approach to deploy the DER assets.
    • Quotes and system layout depictions for the DER installation, including any necessary upgrades to the building electrical panel or service infrastructure, are required.
    • For rooftop solar proposals:
      • Quotes must confirm that the roof must be in good condition and will not need to be replaced within 15 years.
      • Documentation must confirm that the roof is and will remain free from shading or other obstructions.
    • For solar carport proposals:
      • Submittal must confirm that the parking lot is in good condition and not have development plans within 15 years.
      • Parking lot should be free from shading or other obstructions.
    • For the resiliency component:
      • Quantification of the backup power duration, resiliency benefits, and other co-benefits provided by the proposed system.
    • Schematic design documents are encouraged.
    • Costs incurred to prepare this application are excluded from the incentive payment. 
  8. The applicant must submit a budget for installing the solar and battery storage assets, including the following:
    • Total costs (labor and equipment)
    • Additional funding leveraged to support the installation (e.g., cash match, loan, grant, donation, etc.)
    • Cost difference between the two identifying the total amount the applicant is requesting for financial support.
    • All prices quoted shall be firm and fixed for the defined SOW and timeline
  9. Applicants are required to complete an “Xcel Energy: Consent to Disclose Utility Customer Data” form for the timeframe associated with the 5 years prior to and after equipment installation.
  10. Applicants are required to provide any other data and information upon request to demonstrate the efficacy of the installed DER equipment.
  11. Data to inform a City assessment of greenhouse gas reduction for the conversion.

Evaluation of Applications - Criteria and Weights for Selection

The application will be evaluated according to the criteria described below, with the weights allocated to each criterion set forth in the table that follows.

  1. Greenhouse gas reduction assessment - Demonstrated reduction in greenhouse emissions by comparing the historical, or expected, electricity use of the building vs the estimated annual solar production of the proposed system. CASR will prepare the GHG assessment using data submitted by the applicant, as described in the application.
  2. Cost effectiveness – Installation represents a cost-effective opportunity to deploy the DERs when paired with Climate Protection Fund support. The applicant has demonstrated an ability to leverage additional funding sources to minimize the required support from the Climate Protection Fund.
  3. Resiliency benefits – Installation captures resiliency benefits such as the ability to provide backup power and continue HSP operations during a grid outage, etc. Additional benefits may include but are not limited to reduction in urban heat island effects through the use of solar carports.
  4. Community impact – Demonstrated connection to and input from the local community the HSP serves. Additional benefits may include but are not limited to projects located in a NEST neighborhood.[1],[2]
  5. Teaming plan and workforce standards – Please describe your team and qualifications, and any women and minority owned businesses that are part of your team. Applicants should also demonstrate, as applicable, how they utilize high road labor standards such as providing on-the-job training opportunities and a workforce from certification or apprenticeship programs; provide benefits such as health care, retirement, and wage standards; use best value/responsible contracting; and have regional targeted and local hire requirements.

Evaluation Criteria

Points

Greenhouse gas reduction assessment

40

Cost effectiveness

30

Resiliency benefits

15

Community impact

10

Teaming plan and workforce standards

5

Total

100

The City may request an interview as part of the evaluation process.  Any such interviews will take place after CASR has conducted an initial review of submitted applications.

The City reserves the right to negotiate the total contract amount, and award all, some or none of the requested award.  The City is not liable for any costs or expenses arising out of preparation of this application and if selected, may not include any of these costs or expenses as part of its fee, rates, or charges for performing work under the Contract.

CASR encourages applicants to utilize small, minority, and woman-owned businesses on their project team and, where independent contractors are needed, consider utilizing individuals who identify as people of color, Indigenous people, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and people whose household income is below the area median.

Award(s) Notification

CASR will accept applications on a rolling basis and will make award determinations by the end of each quarter.  CASR reserves the right to not award any applications during a quarterly award period.

Selected applicants will receive an award notice via email and should be prepared to collaborate with the City to establish a formal written agreement utilizing the form of the agreement attached to the application.  The agreement will not be effective or binding on the City until it has been fully executed by all required signatories of the City and County of Denver.  Note that contracts more than $500,000 require City Council approval and will take longer to process.  Contracts will contain reporting and milestone requirements that must be satisfied before the City will reimburse project costs.

CASR’s maximum award expenditure for calendar year 2021 incentives is $3 million.

Submit an Application

Completed applications and required forms/documentation must be submitted via e-mail to Energy@denvergov.org with the subject line “[Organization Name] - RRIP Application”.

 

Applications are completed in two steps:

  • Step 1: Confirmation of Applicant Eligibility
  • Step 2: DER Installation Project Scope

Step 1 applications are due January 31, 2022. Applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit a Step 2 application.

CASR will evaluate applications received on a quarterly basis. All required forms and supporting documentation must be included at the time the application is submitted. The Application Form is included below, and a sample agreement is included as Appendix A to the Application Form. Please review the sample agreement with the City’s standard language and insurance requirements before submitting your application.

Download the Application Form(DOCX, 382KB)

View the Sample Agreement(PDF, 281KB)

View the Full Program Description, Application, and Supporting Documentation(PDF, 575KB)

Point of Contact

Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency 

Name: Jonathan Rogers

About the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency

The mission of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR) is to act with urgency to proactively mitigate climate change by advancing science-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a scale and timeline that align with the recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; cultivate resiliency in the face of potential climate change-related emergencies; secure an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable city for generations to come; and ensure that the setting of goals and metrics and monitoring of results considers equity. 

On November 3, 2020, the people of the City and County of Denver voted in favor of Ballot Initiative 2A, raising the local sales and use tax by 0.25% to create the Climate Protection Fund (CPF).  The CPF is dedicated to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, supporting climate adaptation, and creating new jobs to improve the lives of Denverites.  This program will be funded by the CPF and is intended to address the following allowable CPF uses contained in D.R.M.C. § 2-406: 

  • Upgrade the energy efficiency of homes, offices, and industry to reduce their carbon footprint, utility bills, and indoor air pollution.
  • Increases investments in solar power, battery storage, and other renewable energy technology.
  • Job creation through local workforce training and new careers for under-resourced individuals in clean energy technology and management of natural resources.
  • Adaptation and resiliency programs that help vulnerable communities prepare for a changing climate.