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Call for Pilots

Connected Communities is excited to announce a new funding opportunity to equitably improve the quality of life for communities in the Valley through innovative solutions with broad-range opportunities and applicability.

Non-profits, businesses, governments, local power companies and others served by TVA are invited to submit innovative pilot ideas that address one of the three Connected Communities focus areas – Equitable Access to Services, Economic Empowerment and Energy & Environmental Justice. TVA will award at least one grant, up to $1M, for each of the initial three focus areas.

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Focus Area #1: Equitable Access to Services

Together, we want to create a path forward so that everyone in the Valley has access to online platforms and services through high-speed internet, modern technology, and the knowledge and empowerment to use it.

We're seeking pilot ideas which focus on:

  • Expanding digital resources and broadband services
  • Digital equity and inclusion

Pilot Application Instructions

Submit pilot

SUBMISSION OPEN
July 30, 2021

APPLICATION DUE
September 30, 2021

RECIPIENT ANNOUNCEMENT
October 2021

Focus Area #2: Economic Empowerment

We want to help communities establish a strategy to make sure everyone in the Valley is aware of emerging career pathways to next generation jobs and has the technology and data skills to make Connected Communities possible.

We're seeking pilot ideas which focus on:

  • Workforce development
  • Technology training
  • Job creation programs

Pilot Application Instructions

Submit pilot

SUBMISSION OPEN
August 20, 2021

APPLICATION DUE
October 20, 2021

RECIPIENT ANNOUNCEMENT
November 2021

Focus Area #3: Energy & Environmental Justice

We want to find new ways to promote grid interactive technologies, maximize participation opportunities and interest in clean energy, and address public health outcomes through the digitally connected devices and data analysis.

We're seeking pilot ideas which focus on:

  • Environmental health
  • Risk monitoring
  • Clean energy
  • Energy resilience opportunities

Pilot Application Instructions

Submit pilot

SUBMISSION OPEN
August 20, 2021

APPLICATION DUE
October 20, 2021

RECIPIENT ANNOUNCEMENT
November 2021

Funding

Funding is intended specifically for the connected community portion of the project. [For example if the pilot was smart streetlights, a grant could pay for sensors and connectivity, but not poles.] Funds from the award must go towards the pilot idea and be spent within two years upon award. Overhead costs to implement the pilot may be included in the total project cost.

Funding will be drawn down based on the proposed milestones. Documented costs (e.g., paid invoices) are required for reimbursement.

Project Funding

Pilot proposers will need to be collaborative, share lessons learned, and match 30% of the total project costs with funding or in-kind contributions such as direct financial contributions, staff hours or materials.

Evaluation Criteria

Pilot project submissions will respond to a series of questions that evaluate the following:

Strategic Alignment

Projects must directly address one of the initial three Connected Community focus areas, include clear learning objectives, and align with TVA's commitment to equity.

Feasibility

Projects should have a lead organization with the resources and authority to implement, a clear approach and community engagement plan, as well as evidence of potential success.

Impact

Projects should demonstrate clear benefits to Valley communities with the potential for long-term or transformative impact.

Evaluation Process

Evaluators from TVA and a select group of external experts will rate each pilot idea using an evaluation rubric.

How we evaluate pilots

Eligibility

Each proposal must be led by a Principal Organization, which is an entity responsible for entering into an agreement with TVA for the purposes of receiving a funding award. Any organization that is in good standing in the relevant jurisdiction(s) where they are incorporated and maintained may apply as a Principal Organization or be a member on a proposing team.

Individuals may be part of a proposing team, but are not eligible to apply as the Principal Organization. Registered lobbying organizations whose primary business is lobbying are not eligible to apply as part of a Principal Organization or be part of a proposing team.

All proposers must assert their financial and organizational capacity to carry out the proposed project and appropriately manage any award, should they be designated as an awardee. Proposers may be asked to provide information to determine financial stability upon award.

The level and term of documentation required from the proposer to satisfy TVA will be commensurate with the size and complexity of the award and proposers should submit accordingly. If the information submitted by the proposer is insufficient to satisfy TVA as to the proposer's ability to complete the pilot, TVA may request additional information from the proposer or may deem the proposal non-responsive.

Geographic Region

All proposed pilots must be conducted in the TVA service area. If applicable and available, please upload relevant maps or photos of the site as part of the application.

What to Expect Next

Proposers will receive an email confirmation that their pilot submission has been received. An initial review will be conducted to ensure proposals are complete. Proposers will either receive a request for additional information or be notified that their proposal has moved to concept evaluation.

Upon completion of evaluations, potential pilot awardees will be notified and asked to provide information and documents that support federal contracting requirements (e.g., credit history, audited financial statements) and reviews specific to their proposal (e.g., regulatory reviews, environmental assessments).

Awards will be announced after the appropriate parties have signed all necessary agreements.