Request for Applications & Proposals: Solar Array Project

June 22, 2021


Date of Issue:   6/22//21                              Closing Date: 7/28/21

Purpose of proposal

The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) owns and operates the Vermont Food Venture Center (VFVC). CAE is exploring solar options for the facility to enhance the long term sustainability of the facility. 

Organization Background

The Center for an Agricultural Economy is a not-for-profit community-based food system organization, based in Vermont’s rural Northeast Kingdom. Our mission is to engage the public in building a regenerative, locally based, healthy food system by engaging our community through collaboration opportunities, educational outreach, providing infrastructure, and through assisting in hunger relief and local food access projects. CAE has acted as our region’s resource base for understanding the challenges and opportunities for strengthening our local food system; we create opportunities and partnerships that allow for more local food to be grown and consumed locally. CAE engages primarily with three constituent groups: our local community, our farmers and producers, and our food-based businesses. 

As a regional food hub, CAE manages three social enterprises: Just Cut is CAE’s farm-to-institution enterprise, which applies the infrastructure of the VFVC to connect local farms to institutional markets by taking on the processing, packaging, sales and logistics of selling prepared produce to regional schools and hospitals; VFVC where clients may rent commercial kitchens by the hour, receive food safety advising and technical assistance, and access storage and centralized aggregation for local distribution; and Farm Connex, our direct-to-store food delivery service for local farms and producers. Through our food hub, we provide critical food system infrastructure and much-needed technical assistance to clients in the regional farm and food economy.

 Project Background

In 2011, the CAE took on operation of the VFVC. Today the VFVC is home to the CAE’s administrative offices, as well as storage and commercial kitchens available for rent. The VFVC is located in Hardwick, the southwestern corner of Vermont’s northeast kingdom. Because of its location, the majority of participating businesses are based in northern or central Vermont, but the VFVC and its services are available to food producers anywhere in Vermont or nearby areas. It is a 15,000 square foot, multi-use food processing facility. The facility is divided into 3 commercial food processing kitchens; 1,000 sq ft of administrative offices; 5,000 sq ft of warehousing storage which includes 275 sq ft of refrigerated storage and 750 sq ft of frozen storage; and a devoted anchor tenant cell of 6,400 sq ft divided roughly equally as a creamery and cold storage facility. 

The commercial processing kitchens have a range of food preparation equipment for specialty food producers to rent and scale-up small batch recipes. The facility uses on average over 300,000 kW hours per year. 

Scope of Work: What do we need?

CAE is looking into solar options for the VFVC. The most likely scenario is rooftop solar and possibly some solar over parking areas for EV charging stations. CAE is aware these projects take time and details may emerge but we are looking for a proposal that will include the following: 

  • A net metering plan or options to sell the proposed array and enter into a net metering agreement for the VFVC
  • Estimate of the solar project - estimated annual production kwh of the system once installed, type of system to be installed, number of panels, panel type. For purposes of the proposal any solar proposed for the parking lot should be separate from the main installation on the roof. 
  • Estimated cost and financing plan to install system 
  • Outline of a timeline for installing the system
  • Overview of all services provided including any support with permitting


We aim to have proposals in by the end of July, 2021 enter into an agreement over the summer and install the project in the spring of 2022. 

 Proposal Instructions

Please submit a proposal describing how you plan to execute the project deliverables and a brief history and profile of your experience providing services for organizations similar to ours. Why are you the right individual/firm? What specific skills do you bring to the project? What is your history with our mission and related work? Provide a proposed budget/ cost estimate of the project fee that includes an estimate of the time needed to complete the project. Additionally, please include examples of this type of project your company has completed. 

CAE staff is available to provide further information about our objectives as you develop your proposal. Submit your application and proposal to CAE by email at Thank you for your interest!