Third-Party Solar Model RFP for Local Governments and Schools



Third-party financing is an innovative tool for public entities to tap into long-term energy cost savings without requiring large up-front capital expenditures.

Waconia Public Schools third-party solar ribbon cutting Local governments and schools are great locations for solar: large, flat roofs, lots of expensive electrical load, a commitment to sustainability, and a guarantee that they’ll never go out of business. However, since governments can’t take advantage of federal tax credits for solar, the projects often don’t pencil out financially.

Third-party financing is a popular means to overcome this barrier. It occurs in two forms: solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). In the lease model, a customer pays a fixed amount over a set period of time. In the PPA model, the customer pays a fixed price per kWh for power generated. The kWh rate is typically lower than the local utility rate. In both cases, the third-party company owns, operates, and maintains the solar array and can tap into tax benefits not available to the public sector.

Model RFP and other documents: CERTs collaborated with the City of Woodbury and KFI Engineering to develop a model Request for Proposals (RFP) that will enable local governments and school districts to more easily compare proposals. The model RFP contains traditional RFP language about the responders experience, qualifications, project scope, and schedule while also providing a comprehensive overview of technical specifications, site utility use, energy generation estimates, and more. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to access the RFP and supporting documents.

Beyond our RFP, a number of resources are available for local governments wishing to go down this path, including:

Spreading the Word: A component to any successful RFP is to widely disperse the document. CERTs can assist in this effort by distributing the RFP to solar companies participating in the Clean Energy Project Builder.

Questions? If your public entity has questions about solar or would like support on your efforts, please contact me, Peter Lindstrom, CERTs Local Government Outreach Coordinator, at 612-625-9634 or

Fill out the form below to access the RFP and associated documents.

Why are we asking for some contact info? CERTs would like to be able to follow up with you to see how we can help your project move forward. We won’t share your contact info with anyone.

Minnesotans building a clean energy future


    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission