Audit of Green Management Program Solar Panel Projects
From Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations August 3, 2016
…We reviewed 11 of 15 solar projects awarded from fiscal year (FY) 2010 through FY 2013 that were a work-in-progress as of May 2015. At the completion of our audit work in March 2016, only 2 of 11 solar projects were fully completed. In July 2016, VA informed us that 5 of 11 solar projects were fully completed. This occurred because of planning errors, design changes, a lengthy interconnection process, and contractor delays. As a result, VA did not increase renewable energy for those solar projects in the time frame planned and incurred additional costs through needed contract modifications.
What We Recommended
We recommended the Interim Assistant Secretary for Management implement additional controls to prevent solar panel conflicts, share best practices for executing timely interconnection agreements, implement power generation monitoring controls, and conduct lessons learned assessments.
The Interim Assistant Secretary for Management concurred with the intent of two of the four recommendations and non-concurred for the remaining two recommendations. The Interim Assistant Secretary for Management also provided additional comments, which we addressed in this report….
Read … Full Report
FB: VA Drops Millions on Delayed Solar Power Projects
VA awarded a solar panel project contract to SunWize Technologies for just over $600,000 in May 2012 with expected annual energy production of approximately 177,000 kilowatt hours. The solar panel project was delayed by approximately 21 months from the planned completion date of September 2013. Delays caused by SHPO concerns account for about 10 months of the solar panel project delay and represent the majority of additional project expenditures of just over $40,000. VA issued three modifications as a result of the SHPO findings, which resulted in a design change and compensation to the contractor for storage fees and project management.
The contracting office did not order a feasibility study since Hawaii is an optimal location for a solar panel system. If a feasibility study had been conducted, the additional time for the SHPO assessment could have been estimated and built into the project milestones. The remaining 11 months of delays are a result of miscellaneous issues including a 3-month delay for replacement of a subcontractor.
The solar panel project has been generating power since June 2015. However, we could not determine if expected annual energy production for the facility’s solar panel system was achieved as proposed by the contractor because the system had not been generating power for a year at the time of our review. Annual energy results for the facility’s solar panel system will not be available until July 2016.