Bill introduced to help with solar procurement for schools

POWER: Vice Speaker Telena Nelson introduced a bill that would allow the Guam Department of Education to enter into solar power purchase agreements without the General Services Agency. Post file photo

Vice Speaker Telena Nelson has introduced a measure removing the General Services Agency from the bidding process on solar power purchase agreements for the Guam Department of Education. The bill was introduced nearly six years after the enactment of law authorizing such a procurement. 

The intent of Public Law 32-95 was to help GDOE reduce the cost of utilities. The law was enacted in November 2013 and allowed GDOE to enter into one or more solar energy purchase agreements for up to 25 years. In the 2013 law, the providers are to be reviewed by GSA through a multi-step bid process. The selected provider or providers would be responsible for covering no more than 80% of power requirements for GDOE-owned schools and administrative and ancillary buildings. For schools under lease agreements, GDOE was authorized to amend the agreement or directly enter into a power purchase agreement with the lessor and without application of the procurement law, according to Public Law 32-95.

Nelson's legislation, Bill 196-35, strikes GSA from the law. 

Education officials noted that they also have run into difficulty getting power purchase agreements with landlords' approval.

According to GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, the department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to finalize an agreement. 

"The challenge with the current law is that although it appears to exempt the leased schools from procurement, it also holds us to those procurement processes in other areas. Therefore, the AG is working with us to meet those requirements," Fernandez said.