2016 Call for Projects Questions and Answers
PowerAmerica will post all questions and answers for the 2016 Call for Projects below. If you need to submit a question about the 2016 Call for Projects to the PowerAmerica staff please complete the form found on our website.
Q: Can current and/or future government SBIR funds that are awarded to a small business be considered for the 50% cost matching requirement?
A: Per the Terms and Conditions of NC State’s Cooperative Agreement with DOE, “the Recipient may not use Federal funds to meet its cost sharing obligations, unless otherwise allowed by Federal law”.
Q: If a university is part of an Industry project, would the funding allocated ($200K) to them limit their funding for other university projects they may be pursuing (another 200K)?
A: Each PI within a university (and company division) can receive up to two PA project awards. A university allocated $200K to collaborate with Industry on a project counts as one of those awards.
Q: Will high performance photovoltaic string inverters (covering 2kW to 10 kW) using both SiC and GaN devices be a suitable topic to propose for the 2016 call since it is an important high volume application?
A: PV inverters with a path to commercialization using WBG devices are of interest.
Q: I just want to confirm that National Laboratories can submit proposals, either as the Prime or as a subject partner, in response to Topic 4 of the 2016 Call for Proposals.
A: National labs can submit proposals, they are still subject to the 1:1 cost matching requirement. Labs may have partnerships with industry to obtain the cost matching.
Q:Could the matching from companies be in the form of in-kind?
A: A link to the Cost Share Matching Requirements can be found here.
Q: We are very interested in submitting a proposal for Topic 4.3″ Energy Efficiency for Communications, Digital Systems, and Data Centers”
The proposed project is aiming to dramatically improve both efficiency and power density for Data Centers. We believe the proposed work is well fitted into the general description of Topic 4.3. However, the proposed work doesn’t belong to any of the sub-topics for 4.3 as listed in call for project. Is it ok for us to submit this proposal to Topic 4.3, but don’t tie it with any sub-topic? If PowerAmerica is willing to review this proposal, will there be any penalty due to the fact that we don’t tie it to any sub-topic?
A: The subject of developing energy efficient data centers is of interest. Proposals in this area should discuss the potential impact that WBG semiconductors will have on the energy consumption as well as partnerships with industry.
Q:As in previous initiative, will funding again be across 5 years? Do you expect funding dispersal to be linear by year? Can you share the total PowerAmerica investment or expected funding for this effort (to be cost matched)? Any more granular funding info would be greatly appreciated (e.g. by topic).
A: The total DOE investment in PowerAmerica is $70 million over five years, which is matched 1:1 by contributions from PowerAmerica project performers. The total anticipated amount of funding to be provided through this funding period project call is $14 million (which needs to be cost matched 1:1). The “up to” project funding amounts that are suggested in the project call are firm and proposals exceeding these amounts will be rejected. Funding is for one year only with go/no go milestones. The project should be complete in the one year period of performance. A new proposal with a new statement of work and new go/no-go milestones must be selected in a subsequent funding period for future funding.
Q: Sub topic 4.1a EV Fast Charger notes only a very high power charger and specifically calls for SiC. A very large upcoming area for WBG where impact in weight and size is very valued is On Board Chargers (sub 10kW). Is it appropriate to propose a WBG (GaN or SiC) based program for On-Board charger vs. the sub-topic 4.1a which seems to be constrained only to off-board ? If so, what specs (or can specs be agreed based on commercial success).
A: All WBG power applications with TRL greater that 4, having a prototype demonstration by the end of the 12 month performance period, and leading to a commercial product will be considered. Small companies, Universities, and National Labs are encouraged to collaborate with large companies in order to have a commercialization path for their innovations.
Q: Sub topic 4.3b Open Source Design of a Programmable WBG Power Supply- high level specs are given except the power level. Is assuming a reasonable power level and aligning density-efficiency to commercial need / improvement over what can be done with Silicon ok ? sub 100W designs are covered in topics 4.3a, d, e so assuming this is several 100W to kW class. Is there appropriate flexibility in area (4×2 inches specified) based on the Power level?
A: Applications with TRL greater that 4, having a prototype demonstration by the end of the 12 month performance period, and leading to a commercial product will be considered. Manufacturability and Commercialization success should drive specifications.
Q: Can two sections within Focus Area 2 (2.2 and 2.5) be combined into one Concept Paper/Proposal?
A: Yes. Please note we are looking for TRL greater than 4, a demonstration at the end of the 12 month project period, and a path to commercialization. Universities and National Labs are encouraged to collaborate with large companies to have a commercial path for their innovations.
Q: Where can the quad chart template be found?
A: The quad chart template can be downloaded from the description area under the concept paper upload in InfoReady or right here.
Q: For Topic 3.2, it is suggested that the Power America funding limit is $250K. Is this for the entire topic (3.2), or for each project under the topic area (3.2a, 3.2b, and 3.2c). For example, if we submitted two concept papers for $250K each (one for 3.2a and one for 3.2b), would this be regarded as exceeding the funding limit, and therefore deemed to be “not considered”?
In a related question, can one valid concept paper address two sub topics (e.g., 3.2a and 3.2b), and request $500K? Or would such a concept paper be limited to $250K?
This all assumes 1:1 cost match for all of the above scenarios.
A: $250K is the limit for each project under the topic area. So one can submit two concept papers for $250K each (one for 3.2a and one for 3.2b).
Q: In addition to the SiC charger supported by PowerAmerica, our university and the company sponsor are also working together on GaN charger. We recently generated a patent on the hybrid switch using GaN and Si MOSFET to reduce the cost very significantly and maintain the same efficiency (>97%) and power density (>4kW/L). We have already finished the preliminary design and device test. All the results looked very promising, based on which we generated a patent.
After browsing the CFP this year, we wonder if we could submit a proposal focusing on the realization of hybrid switches in the GaN charger, even though such scope is not within CFP. I also wonder if PowerAmerica is into such intermediate approach. It will involve the novel packaging approach as well so we intend to involve one semiconductor company in as well.
A: A concept paper with GaN power switches, TRL>4, a demonstrated prototype at the end of the 12 months, and a manufacturing/commercialization path will be considered. Collaborating with industry to have a commercialization and manufacturing path for your innovation is encouraged.
1. We think that the input DC voltage range need be wider. Most of commercial PV inverter has MPPT DC input voltage of 550VDC – 900VDC. The non-MPPT DC input range could be even wider. In our humble opinion, the commercial PV Inverter with 680V-900V input DC voltage has very limited market.
2. The power density of 5kW/kg. Could you clarify the 5kW/kg is for the inverter power module or the whole product of inverter with case, heat-sink and other mechanical parts. Based on experience, the case, heat-sink and other mechanical parts will be at least 30kg for 100kW outdoor PV inverter. By the way, most of commercial PV inverters are out-door.
A: 1. The input DC voltage range and other values are approximate numbers. All PV inverter concept papers with TRL>4, leading to a prototype at the end of the 12 month effort, and having a clear path to commercialization will be considered.
Q: We wanted to enquire whether the proposal/concept paper can be multi-year (say in response to topic 3.1), or whether they should strictly be for 1 year following the maximum funding guidelines mentioned in the Call for Projects.
A: The concept paper should be strictly for 1 year following the maximum funding guidelines mentioned in the Call for Projects.
Q: For concept papers in response to Topic 4, I wanted to enquire whether the funding for National Labs comes out of the $400K allotted for industry, or out of the $200K allotted for universities. Please advise if there is a ceiling/limit on how much a National Lab can receive from any particular proposal/project under Topic 4.
A: Topic 4. Industry projects alone $400K.
University or National Lab projects alone up to $200K.
Industry and national lab collaboration up to $400K industry and up to $200K national lab for a total of up to $600K for the collaborative project. Same for industry and university collaboration.
Although universities and national labs can propose a project alone for up to $200K funding, they are encouraged to partner with industry to make their concept paper stronger by having a manufacturing path for their innovation.
Only projects with TRL> 4 will be considered.
Q: For Topic 3.1, the funding limit is up to $500K for industry, and up to $250K for university and national labs. For a project team composed of an industry institution, a university and a national lab, please clarify whether the university and national lab can each receive $250K, or whether the $250K needs to be divided between the university and national lab in some way.
A: For a project team composed of an industry institution, a university, and a nation lab, the funding limit is up to $500k for industry, up to $250k for university, and up to $250k for national lab. Total funding for the project is up to $1M.
Q: Can industry and a university submit a single concept paper under topic 4 and is there a maximum split between university and industry for the $600K?
A: PA will fund up to $400K per Industry Project, up to $200K per University Project, and up to $600K per Collaborative Industry/University Project.
A: PA will fund up to $400K per Industry Project, up to $200K per University Project, for a total of up to $600K per Collaborative Industry/University Project.
A: No, there is no strict requirement on the company background in terms of shareholder structure. Institute membership is open to all U.S. industrial organizations (incorporated or formed under the laws of a State or territory of the United States that maintain a significant manufacturing presence in the U.S.), academic institutions, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and other U.S. based entities committed in furthering technology related to Wide Bandgap Semiconductors and Power Electronics.
Q: We are interested in submitting a proposal for Topic 2.5. Assuming the team will be composed of an industry institution, a national lab, and a university partner, the funds available will be 1000k total (500k for industry, 250k for national lab, 250k for the university) as per a question asked earlier for Topic 3.1.
A: Yes. Your numbers are correct.
Q: Lack of SiC devices at higher voltage ratings could challenge the ability to deliver a high TRL prototype in 12 months. Will SiC devices at 3.3 kV or higher be available? If so, what are the ratings, and are they available as modules that are reasonably proven? How much should we budget in the concept paper for each device and what is the expected timeline for availability (including spares).
A: 3.3 kV devices and higher are planned to become available.
We will work to make modules available as engineering samples with reasonable reliability.
$50K should be budgeted as a general material item. We will work module and package ratings when we get closer to award time.
Q: Are applicants required to become members of PowerAmerica before whitepapers/proposals are submitted, or can they wait until after proposal selection to become members?
A: It is recommended that entities become members early to prevent late starts or contracting delays and to allow the project to meet its milestones on schedule. One can become a member before or after the project is selected, but no funding will be given to non-members.
Q: What is the total page limit for the Concept Paper?
A: The page limits for concept papers are on pages 6 and 7 of the solicitation.
Q: Is it possible in the call for project, to submit a project that is an extension of an already submitted OIF white paper?
A: The concept papers and projects will be evaluated on their own merits independently from previous submissions.
Q:TOPIC 3.2: would this topic support the establishment (and not yet at that stage providing services)of advance reliability testing like Dynamic Operating lifetime characterization and so?
A: The testing and reliability of wide band gap semiconductor devices is of interest to PowerAmerica and its members. Proposals that help support the establishment of advanced reliability testing to the community is of interest.
Q: Topic 4.4: All topics on motor drive seems to be oriented toward siC and high power motor. how about <1.5kW motor for like appliances ? Is that all excluded then?
A: A proposal for small motor drives can be of interest. The proposal should show a compelling reason why wide bandgap devices would be preferred over existing silicon solutions from both a technical and economic perspective. Energy savings and superior control can be attractive, but purchasing decisions are also made on cost. The pathway to market should include U.S. manufacturing and improving US manufacturing competitiveness. The proposal could be strengthened by showing partnerships with end users who would be interested integrating these subsystems into appliances.
Q: Teaming scenarios with additive total funding levels have been described for Topic 2.3 and 2.5. We are considering a proposal under Topic 2.2 – GaN foundry. If a teaming concept is proposed (either between an industry entity + a National Lab, or between two industry entities) is there provision for additive awards as well, or is the total award limited to $1M in all cases?
A proposal for Topic 2.2 GaN foundry will have a total award of $1M (no additive awards).
Q: Wil PA fund universities to do lateral GaN?
A: Only lateral GaN power devices with a TRL 4 and higher and a manufacturable process will be considered. Universities are encouraged to team with industry to have a manufacturable path for their innovations.
Q: Can PowerAmerica help obtain high voltage devices (10 kV and 3.3 kV) for projects to be conducted in Budget Period 3.
A: PA will assist with obtaining 3.3 kV, 6.5 kV, and 10 kV engineering samples. $50K should be allocated in the budget toward cost of high voltage device/modules. No detailed device/module cost breakdown is needed at the concept paper stage.
Q: For the contact person information, should I put myself (PI) information there or FSU Business/Administrative POC?
A: List whoever should receive the notification of the encourage/discourage notice. There is also a spot to add an email address for someone who is not the person completing the submission but needs to be informed of status updates.
Q: In the application form. There are manufacturing related questions, for example: “Number of manufacturing workers based in the U.S.”, “Location of principal U.S. manufacturing site(s) related to WBG”, “Manufacturing presence outside U.S.”. As an academic member, we don’t have this information. Can we put N.A. as the answer?
A: Yes, please put N/A.
Q: For Topic area 4 can a university partner with an industry that is not a PowerAmerica member (but a leading manufacturer of products in the topic areas) with that industry not receiving any funds from PowerAmerica? Will this qualify as a path towards commercialization? What IP rights will the industry have in this scenario? How will it be affected if the industry also provides cost share – either cash or in-kind?
A: University proposals are encouraged to partner with Industry. Partnerships with industry with a strong commercialization plan greatly strengthen a proposal. The industry partners do not have to be PowerAmerica members, but the commercialization efforts should have a US manufacturing component. No PowerAmerica funds will go to non-members. If an industry member is contributing to the universities cost share match, the value of that match should be documented and described in the cost sharing letter. IP rights are determined by the universities membership agreements and bylaws. All disclosures are required to be reported to PowerAmerica and are presented to the membership first for potential licensing and can then be presented to non-members for potential licensing.
Q: Good morning,
I know you have clarified that National Laboratories can participate in this call, but our contracting office requests verification that we can participate as an FFRDC (Federal Funding Research and Development Center). Can you confirm?
We are aware of the cost share requirements.
A: Yes, FFRDCs can participate.
Q: If two companies team for a proposal, does the cost share have to be shared proportionally? Or can the team members divide the cost share as they want (as long as the total cost share requirement is met)?
A: The total cost share has to be met. It doesn’t have to be proportional.
Q: Can the Quad Chart, the Gantt chart and the budget estimate each take one page in the Concept Paper?
A: The Quad Chart, the Gantt chart, and the budget estimate can each take one page in the Concept Paper as long as total number of concept paper pages is not exceeded.
Q: For university-led projects, could industry collaborators provide cost share if they are not PowerAmerica members?
Foruniversity-led projects, if industry partners would receive a small amount of the fund as Co-PIs, sub-contractors, or consultants, do they need to be PowerAmerica members in these cases?
A: Collaborations can occur in a variety of ways. Non members can provide cost share.
Does this mean that a university which is receiving $200K funding have to cost share $200K of their own university in-kind labor/material or can the industry partner cover the cost share? For example, can an Industry Member propose a joint industry/university project such that the Industry Member will spend $200K in-kind labor towards project related activities and the University receives $200K match from DoE?
Q: How can I submit a concept paper which submission deadline mentioned October 07, 2016 “PowerAmerical Call for projects 2016”?
A: Follow the link to the InfoReady page found on the Call for Projects page on our website. If you do not already have an InfoReady account it will ask you to create one-follow the steps to confirm your email and then proceed. At the bottom of the page click the red link for PowerAmerica Call for Projects 2016. On the top right hand side of the screen click “apply” and fill in the required information and upload your concept paper.
Q: Where is the link or guideline for submission at https://ncsu.infoready4.com?
A: The guidelines for requirements for the call for projects are found within the call for projects document. Page requirements and other pertinent information are outlined on pages 1-8 of the call for projects however, be sure to read the complete document to ensure you are providing all necessary information.
Q: What is the page limit for the concept paper?
A: Concept Papers for Focus Areas 2 through 4 are no more than seven pages. Concept Papers for Focus Area 5 are no more than eight pages.
Q: For university-led projects, could industry collaborators provide cost share if they are not PowerAmerica members?
For university-led projects, if industry partners would receive a small amount of the fund as Co-PIs, sub-contractors, or consultants, do they need to be PowerAmerica members in these cases?
A: Collaborations can occur in a variety of ways. Nonmembers can provide cost share.
Q: Good Afternoon. My organization is planning to submit at least 1 concept paper to your call for proposals, however we are beginning to feel the effects of Hurricane Matthew and is due to hit our area over night into tomorrow morning. There is a high likelihood that we will be out of power for a few days at least and am wondering if we would be able to submit our concept papers once we regain the ability to.
We thank you for your attention and consideration in this matter.
entire cost share have to come from the lead organization? For e.g. on a concept paper requesting $400K of PA funds ($800K total), if $150K were allocated
to the sub-contractor, can the sub-contractor show $150K of cost share (in kind or cash) or the entire cost share should have to come from the lead.
A: Up to $250K from PA and university must cost share 1 to 1 another $250K for a total university project of $500K.
Industry collaborator will get a separate up to $500 from PA and match 1 to 1 as well.
If the university wants to submit another proposal as a lead then it is another $250 from PA and another $250K university cost share.
Q: Where can I find the Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO) format? According to the information in the Call for Project Document it should be available on the InfoReady website.
A: They can be found under the description section for the PowerAmerica Call for Projects Full Submission. Each template is also linked to in this answer for convenience. Quad Chart Template, Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO) Template, and the EERE 159 Budget Justification Form.
Q: According to your guidelines the full proposal must include a letter of commitment. Is there a specific format required or a template available?
A: A template can be found here.
Q: Our concept paper was approved. It is a university-led project with a max of $200k for the university part and a max of $400k for the industry partner parts. Can we increase our budget as long as we do not exceed the limits established for the specific topic and the specific components?
A: You may adjust your budget from the concept paper phase as long as it does not exceed the limits outlined in the call for projects document.
Q: I see the EERE 159 Budget Justification excel file has a space for the Award Recipient name at the top of the Instructions page. In this case, I’d expect a separate file should be submitted for each partner requesting an award within a proposal?
A: A given proposal should have only one (1) EERE 159 submitted by the lead. Partner organizations should be considered “contractors” and listed as such in the EERE 159 of the prime. The only exception to this would be if a contractor is budgeted for $250K or more federal dollars, in which case the prime partner would need to submit their EERE 159 as noted above *plus* a separate EERE 159 detailing the budget of the partner contractor. We are expecting that cases like this will be rare.
Q: Although you are requesting only 1 EERE-159 Budget form although our proposal is made up of 3 organizations all each seeking a DoE cost match, will the DoE matching funds be disbursed separately to each organization by PowerAmerica? We were under the impression that PowerAmerica manages all subcontracting rather than the lead organization. Please clarify.
A: Only 1 EERE 159 form is needed for a project unless one of the contractors has a budget of $250K or greater. As a general rule, we expect proposals to be submitted one by lead organization with any partners incorporated into the budget/SOPO as contractors. So federal dollars flow to the lead organization and flow through that org to the other partners in the form of subcontracts.
A: A SOPO is generally 5 – 6 pages. A joint proposal with multiple team members may submit a separate SOPO for each team member.
Q: Is it ok for one of the partners on a proposal who did not originally submit the concept paper to submit the full proposal? i.e. Partner x and Partner y are partners on a proposal, Partner x originally submitted the concept paper but partner y wants to submit the full proposal.
A: This is ok as long as the exact same project name is used and both partners are listed as co-applicants.
Q: We have a project in which there are two subawards. For the cost share requirement, can just one of the entities cover all of the cost-sharing for the entire project or is it required that each entity has to meet the 1:1 match for their own budget?
A: One entity can cover all of the 1:1 cost matching requirements.
Q: We are getting ready to submit Final Proposal by Friday, Nov 11; we currently are not a member. Do we need to finish Membership Application before Final submission? Who do I need to talk with to understand the process?
A: All Membership applications can be finalized once selected for funding, but we won’t send money or pay invoices unless they have a membership in place.
Q: Is the membership fee based on calendar year or just for project duration. In other words, is the total membership fee $100k or $50 k only because the project is only for one year duration (June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018)?
A: Membership is for a 12 month period that starts when your membership paperwork is completed, your membership year does not have to correlate with the funding year timeline. A $50k membership at affiliate level would cover one year of membership.
Q: We are planning a proposal that would include a company as subcontractor/collaborator.; To receive an award would both the university and the company have to become members? And is it accurate that the annual fee for a university is $10,000? Would that membership fee be able to used as part of the project match (my reading of the cost share guidelines suggest the answer is no, but I would like to confirm). Thank you
A: Yes, for a collaboration project award both the university and the company have to become members. Annual fee for a university is $10K. Membership fee can’t be used as part of the project match.