In 2009, Recovery Act funding enabled 16 cities to scale up their most promising urban solar energy projects and overcome key barriers. DOE will share the lessons learned and best practices from these projects with local governments throughout the nation.
One particular Solar America Cities Special Project is focused on integrating a solar electric power system into the city’s disaster preparedness plans. The recipient will equip a city-owned facility located near fire-prone areas with secure solar generation and energy storage systems. Emergency responders can use this facility as a home base to better attend to residents.
The project faced a critical financial barrier to successful implementation. The recipient’s proposed financial contribution required them to reallocate funds from another program. When funds are reallocated in this way, the city government is obligated to open a public comment period in which concerns are filed and addressed. During the public comment period, two parties challenged the request. Although a response to the challenge was filed almost immediately, the process was suspended to provide more time to evaluate the reallocation request.
The EERE Project Officer saw an opportunity to assist. The officer helped the parties handling the reallocation request to understand the conditions that come with Federal financial assistance, such as whether or not time and costs are considered reasonable. As a result of the officer’s focus on moving the project forward, the city’s Board of Commissioners approved the reallocation of funds so that the project could continue. Project completion is expected 2012.