American-Made Challenges


Community Energy Innovation Prize

Provide support, build trust, and strengthen partnerships with underserved communities while advancing the clean energy transition.
Upcoming Webinars


The $7.49 million Community Energy Innovation Prize is the successor of two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prizes related to community-based clean energy innovation: the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize and the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize.   


The goals of this new combined prize are to support community-based organizations, the private sector, nonfederal government entities, and collegiate teams in developing and carrying out activities related to clean energy that enable business and technology incubation and acceleration as well as other community-based capacity building, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 


Prize Structure
The Community Energy Innovation Prize is made up of three tracks: the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, and the Collegiate Track, each of which has distinct goals and submission requirements over three phases: CONCEPT, PROGRESS, and IMPACT. In addition to prize awards, winning teams in all three tracks will receive in-kind mentorship and other support services. 

Prize Background

The prize is part of the government’s Justice40 Initiative—a plan to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and inform equitable research, development, and deployment within federal agencies. Through its three tracks, the prize will serve to inspire and mentor collegiate students; bolster grassroots community organizations; and accelerate innovation in the manufacturing sector, in alignment with a new White House strategy aimed at growing the economy, creating jobs, enhancing sustainability, strengthening supply chains, and ensuring national security.    


The Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks are open only to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits); nonfederal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities; academic institutions; and individuals. Collegiate Track teams must be made up of an academic institution, eligible students, and a community partner that meets the eligibility requirements. Diverse, interdisciplinary, well-rounded teams are highly encouraged, and both U.S. and non-U.S. institutions and students are welcome to apply, but non-U.S. institutions must partner with a U.S.-accredited institution to participate. View complete eligibility requirements for all three tracks in the official prize rules.


The Community Energy Innovation Prize was established by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED), and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO). The prize is part of the American-Made family of prizes and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


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

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize or have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or message us directly.


Challenge Updates

Meet the Power Connectors

Sept. 18, 2023, 8:37 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator (Amanda Morton)

Power Connectors

Power Connectors are deeply involved with prize program execution, recruitment, and support. These organizations are contracted yearly to perform a variety of tasks for specific prizes that advance program successes—extending the reach and improving the diversity and inclusivity of the Network overall. 


CEIP Power Connectors:

  • Clean Energy Business Network is a nationwide network of small business and community leaders, headquartered in Washington DC. Having served as a Power Connector since 2020, CEBN is well-versed in strategies for successfully competing in the American-Made prizes. CEBN can also offer recommendations on other federal funding resources, including areas of overlap and difference with another manufacturing-related prize (MAKE IT). CEBN is primarily concentrating on group events for this prize but can also be reached at  for individual support.
  • yet2 is an Open Innovation (OI) and Solutions Scouting firm with decades of cumulative experience in identifying solutions across a broad range of technologies. yet2 is primarily concentrating on recruitment and outreach of groups that are not currently in existing NREL networks, as well as supporting teaming and other events. If you’d like support from yet2, please reach out to 
  • ADL helps energy & infrastructure companies Assess, Develop and Launch new products, services and startups — and we lead innovation programs sponsored by DOE, NREL, and more. ADL is primarily concentrating on 1-on-1 application support for competitors, as well as expanding the existing American-Made Network through recruitment and networking. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to .
  • Entrepreneur Futures Network is a global non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. We provide training, accelerator and funding development programs powered by 20 years of experience and our global network including over 100 universities.. EFN is an official DOE technical assistance provider and has received funding from the DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to provide support to applicants on the Community Energy Innovation prize. For questions, reach out to Cassie Coravos at 

Informational Webinars - Oct 2 and 12

Sept. 12, 2023, 10:35 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator (Amanda Morton)

Do you have questions about the Community Energy Innovation Prize? Attend one of our informational webinars: 


Oct. 2, 2023, 1 p.m. MDT

Informational Webinar: Collegiate Track

  • This one hour webinar will cover the basics of the prize with a focus on the Collegiate Track. Register HERE
  • A recording will be posted to the webinars tab.

Oct. 12, 2023, 1 p.m. MDT

Informational Webinar: Clean Energy and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks

  • This one hour webinar will cover the basics of the prize with a focus on the Clean Energy and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks. Register HERE.
  • A recording will be posted to the webinars tab.


If you have questions in advance of the webinars, please post them on the forum! Other competitors likely have the same question.

Introducing the Community Energy Innovation Prize!

Aug. 29, 2023, 10:03 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Welcome to the Community Energy Innovation Prize!

Launching today, this competition will award nearly $7.5 million in cash prizes as well as mentorship opportunities to organizations supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, capacity building, and economic development in communities historically underrepresented in climate and energy technology funding.

This prize is the successor the Department of Energy's Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, and the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize. If you are coming from those prizes, welcome!

The Summary page will give you a brief overview of the prize details. The Official Rules will give you an in-depth look at every aspect of the competition. And make sure to check out the Timeline for important dates.

We encourage you to consider participating in this exciting prize opportunity!

- Community Energy Innovation Prize Team

Upcoming Webinars