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Frequently Asked Questions

Tribal Solar Gap Funding

What stage of a project development is acceptable for the gap funding grant?
Projects at any stage with a gap funding need and a foreseeable completion date by September 30, 2023 are acceptable.

What types of projects are allowable under the gap funding grant?
Like our other grant programs, projects must serve 80% low income tribal communities whether it’s residential projects, facility projects, community solar projects. Projects with other renewable energy technologies must incorporate solar PV to be eligible.

Is there a certain financial match that needs to be met by the gap funding grant?
Gap funding is intended to provide the match that is required for federal, state, local government grant programs or similar grant program initiatives which require tribes to put forth a percentage of their own funding toward their grant projects. TSAF gap funding will provide up to $250,000 of your required match pending documentation from other funding sources.

What other funding sources are allowable?
State, federal, private or tribal funding are allowed funding sources. 

Can my organization apply for TSAF funding if we reside off trust land/reservation?
Yes, if your organization is “tribally-led” with a 501(c)(3) non-profit status in which the majority of people it serves are tribal citizens. 

What if my tribe is not federally recognized?
The TSAF will only provide grant funding to tribes who are federally-recognized due to the certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and protections on tribal and trust lands, especially in regard to environmental sustainability (i.e., energy planning, development, and infrastructure).

Does each proposed project need a tribal council resolution or letter of support for TSAF funding? 
Yes. We request that tribal leadership (council, government, legislature, etc.) acknowledge the proposed project, philanthropic funding, and potential communications activities.

Do you fund tribes in Alaska? What about Hawaii, Canada or Mexico?
The TSAF currently funds federally-recognized tribes in the lower 48 states and Alaska. 

If our tribe/tribal organization incurs expenses related to the proposed project prior to the start of the grant period, can we include these costs in the budget?
No. All costs must be incurred between the stated grant period start and end dates.

How do I gather and prepare the required financial documents?
The TSAF encourages you to work with your tribe/tribal organization’s accountant to prepare a clear and accurate project budget and budget narrative. Project applications without complete budget documents will not be considered. 

Can the TSAF and/or GRID provide assistance in developing our tribe/tribal organization’s grant application? 
On a limited basis, TSAF staff is available via phone call or email to answer specific questions (e.g. eligibility for a specific grant).

Does the TSAF require reporting as part of a grant award? 
Yes, all funding opportunities will require applicants to submit reports within 30 days of the end of the grant period.  Reporting templates will be provided during the first grantee check-in call. 

What types of project costs are allowable? 
Allowable project costs include supplies, solar equipment and construction materials, in-kind personnel (salary + fringe), contractual costs (including interconnection and permitting costs), and project contingency funds. The TSAF is supportive of solar + battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

How can I get feedback on a proposal submitted that was not funded? 
Unfunded applicants may submit an email request with your tribe/tribal organization name and type of project to grants@tribalsolar.org

TRIBAL ENERGY PLAN GRANT PROGRAM

What is an energy plan?
An energy plan is a comprehensive plan of action that serves as a guide to develop strategic energy planning based on priorities and needs of your tribal community through assessment of energy needs, developing energy goals, prioritizing energy projects (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, etc.), and to identify financing opportunities. 

What types of planning costs are allowable?
Allowable costs include; compensation for time of the planning team, contracting consultants or other third-party experts, costs of public meetings and other methods soliciting community input, etc.

What does “until the funds are fully subscribed” mean? 
The Tribal Energy Plan grant program funding will support 16 tribal grantees at $25,000 each. Applications will be vetted for completeness and eligibility but will not be scored like the other Tribal Solar Project grant programs. The first 16 complete and eligible applications will be funded.

Does GRID Alternatives – Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund offer energy plan development support? 
GRID Alternatives and the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund do not provide direct technical assistance or consultation on energy plans but we do provide industry connections to experts. 

Can our energy plan include other renewable energy sources other than solar?
Yes!  Your energy plan can be as comprehensive as required to fit the landscape and needs of your tribal community.  

Will our community be able to apply for additional TSAF funding if awarded a Tribal Energy Plan Grant?
Being awarded a TSAF Tribal Energy Plan Grant does not disqualify you from being awarded future TSAF grants.  Applicants might find themselves in a great position to apply for additional funding after a Tribal Energy Plan has been developed.   

Can funding be used to update an existing but outdated tribal energy plan?
Yes, if your community has an outdated energy plan and needs to create an updated plan, this grant can be used for that purpose.

FACILITY – RESIDENTIAL TRIBAL SOLAR GRANT PROGRAM

Can my organization apply for TSAF funding if we reside off trust land/reservation?
Yes, if your organization is “tribally-led” with a 501(c)(3) non-profit status in which the majority of people it serves are tribal citizens. 

What if my tribe is not federally recognized?
The TSAF will only provide grant funding to tribes who are federally-recognized due to the certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and protections on tribal and trust lands, especially in regard to environmental sustainability (i.e., energy planning, development, and infrastructure).

Does each proposed project need a tribal council resolution or letter of support for TSAF funding? 
Yes. We request that tribal leadership (council, government, legislature, etc.) acknowledge the proposed project, philanthropic funding, and potential communications activities.

Do you fund tribes in Alaska? What about Hawaii, Canada or Mexico?
The TSAF currently funds federally-recognized tribes in the lower 48 states and Alaska. 

If our tribe/tribal organization incurs expenses related to the proposed project prior to the start of the grant period, can we include these costs in the budget?
No. All costs must be incurred between the stated grant period start and end dates.

How do I gather and prepare the required financial documents?
The TSAF encourages you to work with your tribe/tribal organization’s accountant to prepare a clear and accurate project budget and budget narrative. Project applications without complete budget documents will not be considered. 

Can the TSAF and/or GRID provide assistance in developing our tribe/tribal organization’s grant application? 
TSAF will offer a recorded webinar on June 15, 2022 for potential applicants to learn about the background, funding priorities and goals, application process, and answer general questions. On a limited basis, TSAF staff is available via phone call or email to answer specific questions (e.g. eligibility for a specific grant).

Does the TSAF require reporting as part of a grant award? 
Yes, all funding opportunities will require applicants to submit reports within 30 days of the end of the grant period.  Reporting templates will be provided during the first grantee check-in call. 

What types of project costs are allowable? 
Allowable project costs include supplies, solar equipment and construction materials, in-kind personnel (salary + fringe), contractual costs (including interconnection and permitting costs), and project contingency funds. The TSAF is supportive of solar + battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

How can I get feedback on a proposal submitted that was not funded? 
Unfunded applicants may submit an email request with your tribe/tribal organization name and type of project to grants@tribalsolar.org. 

Download the FAQ HERE