Southern California Tribe Issues RFP for Microgrid

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California’s San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (SPBMI) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) that seeks design-build services for a hybrid microgrid that would supply electricity to essential buildings during utility outages.


Photo: Shutterstock/By chinasong

Release of the RFP follows power shut offs to millions of Calfornians in recent weeks as utilities attempt to avert wildfires. A substantial number of wildfires in the state have been linked to utility transmission lines and equipment. As a result, microgrid developers are reporting an uptick in activity within the state.

San Pasqual seeks a grid-connected microgrid that will use solar, energy storage and liquid propane for six essential facilities at the tribe’s administration campus, part of a 2,656 acre community with 350 homes near San Diego.

The facilities total 41,898 square feet and include a wastewater treatment plant, a fire department, a housing and security building, and a preschool and an education building that each serve as community shelters.

The tribe already has two rooftop arrays, totalling 24 kW, that it plans to incorporate into the project. The RFP calls for expanding the solar so that it can serve 105% of the campus annual load, about 246,514 kWh. The project also includes charging for six electric vehicles.

RFP seeks fixed price contract for microgrid

The RFP seeks an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract at a fixed-price for the design, building, and deployment of a turn-key microgrid system.

The tribe prefers a controller that can transition seamlessly between being grid-connected and islanded. The microgrid must include load-management systems to perform a range of functions as well telemetry and monitoring that can undertake such tasks as allocating energy consumption and costs to each facility in the microgrid.

San Diego Gas & Electric serves the site via one single-phase distribution line with eight separate meters energized at several service entrances. The winning bidder will consolidate, reconfigure and upgrade the on-site power distribution so that all loads are served from a new microgrid bus.

The project springs from the tribe’s energy and resiliency plan to make San Pasqual energy independent by 2021. The tribe is striving for energy resilience, net zero energy consumption, lower energy costs and an improved environmental profile.

In keeping with tribal funding from the US Department of Energy, the RFP requires that the chosen company provide on-the-job training in solar installation for up to 10 volunteers and staff who will work on the project to help reduce solar installation costs

Proposals are due by Monday, December 16. A mandatory bidders site walk will be held on Wednesday, November 13. San Pasqual expects to choose a winner by January 31, 2020 and hopes to have the project commissioned by October 31, 2020.

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Prosper Sustainably is managing the RFP on behalf of the tribe. All communications should be directed to Josh Simmons at

The RFP can be downloaded from Prosper Sustainably’s website

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.