American-Made Challenges


Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize

Encourages and recognizes coalitions that are addressing environmental inequities and energy challenges among disadvantaged communities.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed



The goal of the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize is to help community coalitions—made up of nonprofits, city governments, school systems, and other community organizations—come together to develop a strategy to address a local clean energy opportunity or inequity. Strategies may include student education, workforce trainings, or implementation of new technologies that align with the goals of the White House’s Justice40 Initiative. 


The prize seeks to carry out the directives of the Justice40 Initiative by identifying and supporting: 

  • Newly partnered or existing community-based coalitions that have recently committed to helping underrepresented communities address energy challenges and implement clean energy solutions.
  • Further development of relevant in-community coalitions executing projects that are consistent with the Justice40 Initiative and EERE’s focus on clean energy technologies and implementation.
  • Long-term engagement by the relevant in-community coalitions on energy challenges on behalf of the communities served.


About the Justice40 Initiative

Section 223 of Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, established the Justice40 Initiative, which directs 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments—including investments in clean energy and energy efficiency; clean transit; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and the development of clean water infrastructure—to flow to disadvantaged communities.


The Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize consists of three phases, with a total available prize pool of $2.135 million. Prizes are available to multiple coalition winners in Phase One and Phase Two. The prize will conclude after Phase Three, with a Community Summit Event. At this event, all competitors will have the opportunity to present their progress, benefit from networking opportunities, and be eligible for the final prize awards. Philanthropy partners may also be invited to make connections with coalitions.


The competition is open to coalitions of one or more partners anchored by a community-based not-for-profit organization that are: (1) new coalitions established on or after the date of this announcement or (2) existing coalitions that have established a new or amended mission on or after the date of this announcement. 


The Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize was established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The prize is part of the American-Made Challenges family of prizes and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


Please review the official rules  for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at


Challenge Updates

Exciting Opportunities for Community Coalitions!

Aug. 10, 2023, 6:57 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Hello CCEC Teams,


Remember that registration is now open for the ten winning teams from Phase Two to participate in the Summit this December in Atlanta. Please coordinate with your Team Captain to access that link and make your travel plans!


Additionally, your Power Connector the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) has compiled JEDI-specific opportunities that you may be interested in. Take a look!


  • MAKE IT Prize Strategies Track - The MAKE IT Prize Strategies Track supports communities creating a roadmap for promoting clean energy manufacturing activity in their regions. Apply by Oct 18.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF): Solar for All - Through this competition, Solar for All will award up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and nonprofits to expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities primed for residential solar investment—enabling millions of low-income households to access affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy. Notices of Intent are due Aug 18. The GGRF also has two other funding opportunities: The National Clean Investment Fund and the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator.
  • Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhood Grant Program - Funds community-led projects that mitigate physical barriers to mobility and access. The Neighborhood Access and Equity Program similarly funds projects that remove physical barriers as well as projects to improve walkability, safety, and affordable transportation access, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Apply by Sep 27.
  • Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program - Under PACE, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will forgive up to 60% of loans for renewable energy projects that use wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, or biomass, as well as renewable energy storage projects. At least 50% of the population served by your proposed renewable energy project must live in communities with populations of 20,000 or fewer. Letters of interest are due Sept 29.
  • Green Power Ventures - Seeks to accelerate climate resilience in communities significantly affected by climate change by providing de-risked long-term cash flows, reduce greenhouse gases and facility management costs, and grow jobs and economic development in disadvantaged communities.
  • Climate Ready Workforce for Coastal and Great Lakes States, Tribes, and Territories Initiative - Sea Grant and the NOAA Climate Program Office seek to establish programs aimed at placing people across the country into good jobs that advance climate resilience. NOAA envisions making between 10-20 awards under this competition, at amounts ranging from $500k-$10M each for 2–4-year projects. Letters of Intent are due Nov 30.

We hope these opportunities are helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!


Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize Featured in American-Made Blog

June 26, 2023, 12:27 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The unique coalition-based format of the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize is the highlight of a new blog from the American-Made team. 

The blog talks about how the concept of the prize—rewarding coalitions of community stakeholders rather than individuals or teams—came to be, and how this prize is different than others in the American-Made portfolio. Several teams and their work are featured in the blog.

Head to LinkedIn to read the blog and learn more about how this prize could influence future competitions! 

Congratulations to Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize Phase Two Winners!

June 1, 2023, 8:44 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Prize administrators just announced that all Phase One winners successfully accomplished the goals of Phase Two and were each awarded $150,000! 

At the conclusion of Phase Two, prize competitors were judged on the strength and thoroughness of their Coalition Implementation Plans. The ten Phase One winners all created actionable items to meet their goal to address a community energy challenge, and will now move on to Phase Three, where they will execute those plans. 

Click on each team name to watch a video update of their progress: 

Congratulations to all ten winning teams! We look forward to seeing their progress in Phase Three. 

Phase Two Submission Deadline This Friday!

May 1, 2023, 6:59 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Dear Community Clean Energy Coalition Teams,

Friendly reminder that the Phase Two submission deadline is this Friday, May 5th at 5pm EST. Please remember that the HeroX Team Captain must begin the submission, but after it has been started anyone on the team can edit, finalize, and submit.

Please ensure that your submission includes the accurate, precise information regarding who will get paid prize award money. As you saw in the Phase One payment process, whomever you list as the payee in the submission much match your W-2 and banking information exactly.

Remember that CEBN (Clean Energy Business Network) is here to help! They are offering two more office hours sessions prior to the deadline where you can ask questions, receive feedback, and talk through specifics of your coalition plans. You can sign up for office hours here.

Thank you, and reach out with any questions!


Join the Annual American-Made Earth Day Event!

April 20, 2023, 9:02 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

You’re invited to join the American-Made team on Tuesday, April 25, at 11:30 a.m. ET for the American-Made Earth Day Event as we honor the people and prizes supercharging the clean energy revolution—and working toward a cleaner, brighter future for our planet!

During this live hybrid event, leadership from the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will highlight recent updates in the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize. We’ll also be joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno and NREL Laboratory Director Martin Keller for exciting program updates. You won’t want to miss it!

As an attendee, you will hear from key energy industry players and get exciting first-hand updates from American-Made prize teams, including: 

  • Prize winner announcements 
  • Recaps of recent milestones and past winner success stories 
  • The launch of brand-new prizes

Register here to join virtually! 

We hope to see you at this exciting event celebrating the clean energy champions who are defining what it means to be American-Made!