Last December, President Biden issued Executive Order 14057, “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability,” which directed the government to adopt cleaner and more sustainable procurement practices, with the ultimate objective of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Pursuant to that directive, GSA has issued a new RFI seeking information regarding domestically manufactured solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and systems, as well as PV system installation. GSA intends to use the information to develop a solar PV procurement strategy and a procurement standard for use in future solicitations — including solicitations for Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs), Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs), and other vehicles.
Given the RFI’s emphasis on sourcing and country of origin, it is possible that any new procurement standards for civilian contracting would parallel existing regulations at DFARS 252.225-7017, which generally require DoD contractors to make use of PV devices originating from the United States or certain designated or qualifying countries. Of course, the ultimate impact of the RFI on future procurement strategy remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the Administration is committed to clean technology procurements and that domestic preferences remain an overriding and central concern.
Comments in response to the RFI are due by November 18, 2022. More detail about specific topics covered in the RFI is below.