Division of Engineering Services
Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) Projects
Frequently Asked Questions
Latest FAQ additions are added at the end of each Section as it becomes available.
This site was last updated February 10, 2010. Please return to this site periodically for new information.
Q: How do I become an approved installer?
A: We recommend you get listed as an approved installer and contact the local utility to obtain their approval as well.
Q: Is the contractor responsible for obtaining the electrical and civil stamps on Caltrans set of plans?
A: No, the contractor is not responsible for obtaining stamps on our plans. The contractor is responsible for engineering and signing the panel rack system and the electrical as it relates to the PV (photovoltaic) system.
Q: Why is there no DVBE goal, only an incentive?
A: On July 28, 2009, the Governor signed AB4x21 which removed the good faith effort option on state contracts. Effective with contracts advertised after July 28, 2009, bidders must meet the stated goal or they will be found non-responsive. Therefore, we are relying on the DVBE incentive to achieve the DVBE participation, without having projects held up because no bidders have met a stated DVBE goal.
Q: Who is responsible for paying for the LEED certificate?
A: CREB projects are not part of the LEED program.
Q: When buildings are identified as hot (asbestos), who is responsible for abatement and will this information be addressed in bid documents?
A: The contractor is responsible for the abatement of both asbestos and lead paint and this will be clearly identified and covered in the contract.
Q: Has Caltrans done structural if required?
A: Caltrans has checked the structural integrity of the roof, and where necessary has required the contractor to strengthen it. These modifications have been engineered and are identified on the plans.
Q: Do you have a time line for the 45 projects?
A: Our goal is to get approximately 50 of the 70 sites constructed this fiscal year, by June 30, 2010. The rest will be designed by the end of our fiscal year.
Q: Is there a separate performance guarantee besides the PV module manufacture’s standard warranty? If so, if there is an underperforming PV system, what is the remedy process?
A: There is a one year parts and workmanship warranty on the installation. After that, there is only the parts warranty as specified in the contract documents. After the one year, it is all Caltrans’ responsibility to remedy any issues..
Q: Will Contractors be able to provide a different PV Panel if performance and mounting criteria is equal or better than the specification?
A: As long as the panels are on the CSI list of approved panels and as long as it meets the performance and warranty criteria on the plans and in the specifications, they will be acceptable.
Q: Will Caltrans handle all CSI paperwork? Is Caltrans responsible for entire rebate process?
A: Any contact with CSI or the serving utility regarding rebates, including all paperwork, will be handled by Caltrans.
The contractor is responsible for constructing the PV system in accordance to rebate requirements, for providing the application for the utility tie-in, and for contacting the utility for final inspection and approval of the PV system.
Q: What rebate is Caltrans receiving for installing these solar systems?
A: Government entities receive separate rates that are similar to the process for other CSI rebates. Caltrans has completed most of the process with these projects by completing all applications, all paperwork, all energy audits, and much of it has already been approved.
Q: What happens if the contractor installs the system on a project and there is a shading issue at the time of the utility’s final inspection – who is going to be responsible for the reduced amount of rebates, if there is a reduce amount of rebate due to shading?
A: Caltrans will be responsible for shading issues as long as the system is built per plan and specification.
Q: Will the plans and specifications include the details of the monitoring system requirements?
A: Caltrans is working on this issue. For those projects that require monitoring, the contractor’s responsibility will be clearly defined within the project plans and specifications.
Q: After approval of bid acceptance, how long does it take to complete installation (per site)? Time duration per project?
A: This will vary with the size and complexity of the project. There will be a delayed start of about 30 days to get the engineering completed and the submittals in and approved. After that, each site within a project will have about 3 weeks to construct the PV system.
Q: Who will perform inspections?
A: Caltrans will administer the contract. There will also be inspections by the utility and the State Fire Marshal.
Q: Will Caltrans handle interconnection with Utilities?
A: No, this is the contractor’s responsibility.
Caltrans has worked with the local utilities through the CSI process, and they are aware of what we are doing and have approved the installation.
Q: What, if any, time of day requirements will be in place for work to be performed? Does this exclude weekend work? Will the contractor have full access to each site?
A: The contractor will need to coordinate the work with the operation of the facility. In most cases this means that the contractor may be restricted to an 8 plus hour day, 5 day a week schedule, especially if the facility is to remain in operation.
Advertising and Bidding
Q: Can a Small Business E. supplier team with a contractor for bid preference or only DVBE?
A: Any licensed contractor can bid our contracts. If the bidder is a joint venture, both partners must be individually licensed at bid time. The Joint Venture must be licensed prior to contract award.
Q: Can a small business engineering company be the prime in a joint venture with a C-46 contractor as a sub?
A: The prime contractor must have a contractor’s license of the type(s) specified in the Notice to Bidders. The prime must self perform at least 30% of the contract.
Q: Bids security is 10% of the bid cost amount. Is this amount of deposit refundable and when? Is it included with retainage?
A: If the bid security is a cashier’s check, the Department will immediately return the check if the bidder is not one of the three low bidders. If the bidder is one of the three low bidders, the cashier’s check will be returned after contract approval. The Department does not return bid bonds. Once the contract is awarded, contact your bonding company. The bid security is not a factor in any contract payment retainage.
Q: Must we be a small business to apply for these jobs?
A: Only contracts less than $250k will require small business certification. Obtain small business certification from Department of General Services.
If the bidder is not currently certified as a small business with the Department of General Services, it should immediately take steps to become certified. For contracts over $250,000, the bidder must request the small business preference at time of bid, but is not required to be certified if it does not want the preference. If the bidder is a joint venture, both joint venture partners must be individually certified as small businesses to claim the small business preference.
Q: When will full technical specifications be available? What is the time-line for each of the 45 Projects? When are the bid opening dates?
A: Check the CREB Look Ahead Report for project specific estimated advertisement dates.
Q: Will all bids be on the standard bid sites? How will the jobs be advertised under $250,000? It was said in the VTC that those would not be on the standard bid sites.
A: Only contracts over $250k are advertised on the Internet. Contracts under $250k are bid under solicitation of qualified small business contractors. To qualify to bid on CREB projects, you must be listed as a certified Small Business with the Department of General Services and hold the proper license requirements for these jobs:
- A (General Engineering Contractor), or
- B (General Building Contractor), or
- C-10 (Electrical Contractor), or
- C-46 (Solar Contractor).
Q: Do you need performance bonds for contracts under $250,000?
A: No performance bonds are required for contracts under $250,000.
Q: Are contract documents asking for CEC or CSI rating?
A: We are asking for CEC rating.
Q: How do you get prequalified to bid on these projects?
A: There is no prequalification process. Refer to Caltrans Quick Reference Information for Contractors and Doing Business With Caltrans on our website for more information.
Q: Is it true in order to bid these jobs that we must be NAB certified? And also must we have 5 years of solar experience?
A: Starting January 6, 2010, for all CREB contracts, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification requirement was rescinded and is no longer required. For Minor A projects, the new requirement is that the installer shall have at least 1 year experience in design and installation of commercial PV system of 30 kW or greater.
Q: Are contract plans available? If so, where?
A: Bid documents for projects over $250k are available as soon as the project is advertised. The documents may be found under the Caltrans Office Engineer Advertised Projects (Projects for Bid) web page.
Q: Are Performance Bonds required on CREB projects?
A: Performance Bonds are not required for Small Business Minor B projects (contracts under $250k).
Q: Bids will not be fair and equal if......General A & B, C-10, and C-46 licenses carry different prevailing wages. How are C-10 businesses suppose to bid it since the General A license carries a lower prevailing wage?
A: Prevailing wage rates are based on the type of work performed, not on the type of license requirements applicable to the contract. All contractors will be required to pay the minimum prevailing wage classifications for the type of worker(s) needed to perform the duties specified in the scope of work of the contract.
Q: Are these projects covered by prevailing wage requirements? If they are covered by prevailing wage requirements what wage rate will Caltrans and DIR require to be paid to employees working on this project?
A: Prevailing wages will apply for all of these projects. There will be multiple classifications required depending upon the actual work performed on each contract. The exact classifications and corresponding rates required cannot be determined at this point since the projects are not yet advertised. When the projects are advertised, if there are questions concerning the type of work performed, bidders are encouraged to submit a bidder inquiry that will be posted on-line for all potential bidders to see.
Q: Will the general liability insurance provision minimum requirements be posted so as not to be a disqualifying factor in the review process of the contract acceptance?
A: For insurance requirements please check your project’s special provisions and Section 7-1.12B(4)(b), Liability limits/Additional Insureds of the Standard Specifications.