What project preparation services are covered by USICEF grants?
USICEF will provide support for essential project development costs that the Project Developer or other financial partner does not otherwise have the financial resources to cover. The funds may be used to cover the costs of goods and services that are critical to the project reaching financial close (or an otherwise relevant milestone). The services can include (but are not restricted to) the following:
- Market sizing and demand estimation studies
- Technical feasibility studies (resource estimation, technology assessment etc.)
- Product development and testing
- Third party monitoring and verification of project performance
- Engineering costs associated with project design, technology assessment, site selection, plant sizing etc.
- Legal costs for transaction advisory (preparation of documentation relating to permitting, power purchase agreements, engineering, procurement & construction, operations & maintenance, debt financing, shareholder agreements, etc.)
- Financial advisory services
- Environmental and social impact assessment
- Load development support
What can USICEF grants not be used for?
- Retrofit captive projects in which renewable energy sources replace traditional fossil fuel sources.
- Technologies using fossil fuels, including LNG or kerosene, other than as back-up or hybrid systems with low usage expectations.
- USICEF grants should not be used to cover costs prior to submission of the application/for services that have already been rendered.
What is the process for grant approval and who is involved?
- CPI, as the Program Manager, will conduct a preliminary screening of submitted proposals and will share applications that have passed the preliminary screen with OPIC for additional feedback.
- CPI will then prepare a deeper evaluation to assess the funding potential of the project and the project’s bankability, and will make necessary recommendations to the Advisory Committee.
- Grants will be awarded to the recommended projects approved by the Advisory Committee.
Who is on the Advisory Committee?
The Advisory Committee is comprised of government representatives from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and IREDA, as well as independent subject matter experts.
What are the criteria for grant approval?
Applications will be evaluated on the basis of:
- Experience of the Project Developer firm and team members/management
- The project model and its potential for investment
- The operational and financial performance of the Project Developer firm
- Development impact
What is the cycle of the grant process and how long does it take?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but will be reviewed once quarterly. Typically it may take between 9 to 15 weeks from the date of application submission for the application review process to be concluded.
What is the maximum grant provided by USICEF?
Grant sizes will vary depending on the project size (in terms of MW capacity), and also on the types of project services deemed necessary during the evaluation process.
How are Service Providers assigned to a Project Developer?
The USICEF Program Manager selects companies to join the empaneled network of highly qualified Service Providers. Project Developers can then engage with that network. The selection process is conducted by the Project Developer through a request-for-proposal process. The RFP will be passed along to the network of Service Providers for the relevant services.
How does USICEF help Project Developers become eligible for long-term financing?
USICEF has been established in collaboration with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). USICEF is also in the process of establishing prioritized relationships with other key global development finance institutions.
USICEF will support project preparation activities that are necessary for Project Developers to access long-term debt financing from OPIC and/or other DFIs. USICEF grants shall be paid to Project Developers and/or third party professional Service Providers for work completed on behalf of the Project Developer. These costs may include engineering costs, feasibility studies, legal costs for due diligence and finance documentation, transaction advisory services, customer evaluation, internal controls, and payment mechanisms.
Final versions of the detailed project reports will be shared by the Program Manager for onward submission to OPIC and other prospective funders.
How will the empanelment process proceed after the Service Provider submits an application?
The Program Manager will review and vet applications from Service Providers according to the eligibility criteria. All shortlisted Service Providers will be contacted by the Program Manager to complete the process of empanelment, which may include additional required documentation and references.
What are the eligibility criteria for becoming an empaneled Service Provider?
The eligibility criteria are:
- Demonstrated experience of at least five years in providing the relevant services, with at least three years of experience in delivering services to companies in India.
- The Service Provider should not be blacklisted by any government or public sector agency in India. The application includes a self-declaration of this.
- The Service Provider should not have any conflict of interest with the beneficiary Project Developers of USICEF.
How are Service Providers chosen to provide services for the Project Developers?
The Project Developer will float a request-for-proposal amongst at least three empaneled Service Providers. In cases where the Project Developer seeks to include other Service Providers outside of the USICEF network, they would need to complete the empaneling process with USICEF in order to be considered.
The proposals received will be examined by the Project Developer, who will shortlist the Service Provider(s), based on a weighted assessment of technical and financial aspects of their application (70% weight for the technical assessment and 30% weight for the financial assessment).
The technical assessment is:
- Technical experience – firm level
- Qualification of the project lead and team
- Appropriateness of proposed methodology for the work to be carried out and work plan
The financial assessment parameters will take into account the total price quoted and also any specific payment terms:
- The score for the financial proposal will be based on normalizing pricing offers of different Service Providers against the lowest offer for the proposal under review.
- The scores of all Service Providers committing to work on payment upon completion may be enhanced by 50%
The Project Developer will present the selection to the Program Manager for approval. The Program Manager will then undertake (or facilitate through IREDA, as the case may be) the necessary contracting process.
What is the procedure for payment for services performed?
The Project Developer will finalize the selected Service Provider(s) and present the selection memo to the Program Manager, who will then undertake (or facilitate through IREDA, as the case may be) the necessary contracting process. Post-contract, the Service Provider will commence work and report back to the Project Developer on successful completion of the deliverables (there maybe interim drafts etc. as specifically indicated in the concerned proposal). Once the Project Developer confirms the deliverables to be in line with the requirements and scope defined in the proposal, the Project Manager and/or IREDA will release the payment no later than 45 days after the communication from the Project Developer.