Frequently Asked Questions
Here are frequently asked questions about partnering with NREL, partnership agreements, procurement, NREL funding and payment, technology licensing and commercialization.
Types of Partners
Who does NREL partner with?
NREL partners with a variety of entities including government agencies, industry, academia, nonprofits, and small businesses. Some of our partners include Verizon, United Nations agencies, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Does NREL partner with international companies?
Yes, NREL engages in strategic partnerships that align with our mission. NREL's usual procedures apply. See technology partnership agreements for more.
Does NREL partner with international organizations?
Does NREL partner with start-ups?
Yes. Learn more about NREL's commercialization programs, which support emerging clean energy entrepreneurs.
Can I register with NREL as a small business?
How can my organization partner with NREL?
Through the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL has a number of partnering mechanisms in place. These technology partnership agreements include:
- Agreements for commercializing a technology — when a partner seeks flexible contract terms and highly-specialized or technical services to complete a project
- Cooperative research and development agreements — when a partner and the lab intend to collaborate on a project
- Work-for-others agreements — when a partner seeks technical services to complete a project but does not intend to perform joint research.
Organizations may also partner with NREL to use the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), a U.S. Department of Energy user facility, and other NREL research facilities.
How many active partnership agreements does NREL have in place?
More than 600.
Can NREL participate in federal Interagency Agreements?
Yes, an interagency agreement is a type of work-for-others agreement through the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information about interagency agreements, see the Office of Management and Budget memorandum, "Improving the Management and Use of Interagency Acquisitions."
How long does it take to get a work-for-others agreement in place with NREL?
Typically 15–45 business days. For the process, see technology partnership agreements.
Requests for Proposals, Solicitations, and Subcontracts
Does NREL procure goods and services?
NREL offers numerous procurement opportunities, including purchasing and subcontracting. See business opportunities.
Where can I find NREL's current requests for proposals/solicitations?
Can I send NREL an unsolicited proposal?
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), not NREL, serves as the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) central point of receipt for all unsolicited proposals. See the DOE-NETL Guide for the Submission of Unsolicited Proposals.
Funding and Payment
How does payment and funding work?
When NREL performs work for others, we require payment for the first 90 days of work in advance, with payments by monthly invoicing, so we always have a balance of funds to charge. For other business opportunities, it varies depending on the type of contract in place.
Is NREL funded by the U.S. government?
Yes. NREL is the principal research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. NREL also conducts research for DOE's Office of Science and Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Through an interagency agreement, a government organization other than DOE can directly fund NREL's work.
Can NREL get funding for my project or organization from the U.S. government?
No, you will need to apply for funding directly with the federal government. Learn about types of financial assistance available from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. USA.gov provides information on government benefits, grants, and financial aid available from the federal government.
Commercialization and Licensing
Will NREL help me commercialize my invention?
The NREL Commercialization Assistance Program (NCAP) helps emerging companies overcome technical barriers to commercializing clean energy technology. For eligibility requirements, see information about NCAP.
Will NREL help me with financing for my technology?
NREL's Industry Growth Forum provides clean energy entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their business cases to an expert panel of investors and energy executives. Learn more about the Forum.