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American-Made Challenges

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Community Energy Innovation Prize

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

This challenge is closed

stage:
Submission Deadline
prize:
$7,490,000

This challenge is closed

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Summary
Timeline
Updates21
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Summary

Overview

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 Community Energy Innovation Prize is supporting local organizations with proven track records of engaging underserved communities and/or promoting environmental, climate, and energy justice as they enact community-led climate and clean energy solutions. This expanded prize is also focusing on inspiring the next generation of clean energy leaders with opportunities for college students to work with community partners and has an additional focus on fostering innovation in clean energy manufacturing ecosystems in historically underserved communities. Read the official launch announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy. 

 

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 the Biden-Harris Administration’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.  

  

Who Can Participate?

 

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks

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

The Collegiate Track is now closed to new competitors. Read the official announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy and visit the Collegiate Track CONCEPT Phase results page for further details.


Guidelines

Interested in participating in the Clean Energy Ecosystem or Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks? Please review the official rules.

Collegiate participation in the Community Energy Innovation Prize is now closed and winners have been chosen.

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).

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 .

Timeline

Challenge Timeline

start
Aug. 29, 2023, 7:59 a.m. PDT
Date Launched
Aug. 29, 2023, 8 a.m. PDT
Enter
Prize opens for all tracks
Oct. 2, 2023, noon PDT
Informational Webinar: Collegiate Track
Oct. 12, 2023, noon PDT
Informational Webinar: Clean Energy and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks
Nov. 3, 2023, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Submission Deadline
Nov. 3, 2023, 3 p.m. PDT
Judging
Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Judging
Nov. 17, 2023, 7 a.m. PST
Judging Closed
Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Judging Closes
Nov. 17, 2023, 7:01 a.m. PST
Enter
Ecosystem Tracks Re-Open for Submissions
Dec. 4, 2023, 9 a.m. PST
Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Winner Announcement
Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Winner Announcement (Anticipated)
Dec. 4, 2023, 10:36 a.m. PST
Enter
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Opens
Feb. 2, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: CONCEPT Phase Submission Deadline
Feb. 2, 2024, 3 p.m. PST
Judging
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: CONCEPT Phase Judging
Feb. 22, 2024, 10 a.m. PST
Judging Closed
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: CONCEPT Phase Judging Closes
Feb. 22, 2024, 11 p.m. PST
Enter
March 4, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Submission Deadline
March 4, 2024, 3 p.m. PST
Judging
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Judging
March 13, 2024, 2 p.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Judging Closes
March 26, 2024, 7 a.m. PDT
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: CONCEPT Phase Winner Announcement
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: CONCEPT Phase Winner Announcement (anticipated)
March 26, 2024, 7:01 a.m. PDT
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Winner Announcement
Collegiate Track: PROGRESS Phase Winner Announcement (anticipated)
March 26, 2024, 8 a.m. PDT
Enter
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: PROGRESS Phase Opens
March 26, 2024, 8:01 a.m. PDT
Enter
Collegiate Track: IMPACT Phase Opens
June 11, 2024, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Collegiate Track: IMPACT Phase Submission Deadline
June 17, 2024, 11 a.m. PDT
Judging
June 25, 2024, 10 a.m. PDT
Judging Closed
June 25, 2024, 11 a.m. PDT
Won
Collegiate Track: Summit Event and GRAND PRIZE Winner Awards
June 26, 2024, noon PDT
Enter
July 19, 2024, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: PROGRESS Phase Submission Deadline
July 22, 2024, 1:14 a.m. PDT
You are here
July 22, 2024, 11 a.m. PDT
Judging
Aug. 6, 2024, 7 a.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Aug. 20, 2024, 9 a.m. PDT
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: PROGRESS Phase Winner Announcement
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: PROGRESS Phase Winner Announcement (anticipated)
Aug. 21, 2024, 1 p.m. PDT
Enter
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: IMPACT Phase Opens
Nov. 15, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: IMPACT Phase Submission Deadline
Nov. 17, 2024, 11 p.m. PST
Judging
Dec. 5, 2024, 11 a.m. PST
Judging Closed
finish
Dec. 6, 2024, 9 a.m. PST
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: Final Event and GRAND PRIZE Winner Awards
Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks: Final Event and GRAND PRIZE Winner Awards (anticipated)
Updates21

Challenge Updates

PROGRESS Phase Deadline in Two Days!

July 17, 2024, 7:48 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

CONCEPT Phase winners across both the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track and Manufacturing Ecosystem Track should submit their progress metrics and milestones by this Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m. ET for a chance to win up to $100,000 and move on to compete for the Grand Prize! 

 

Here’s what to do: 

Review the official prize rules to ensure you know what to submit 

Use the submission template (optional) to ensure materials are in the right format 

Leverage your Power Connectors to help provide submission feedback 

Start uploading your Progress Report and Evidence of Progress in advance to avoid network difficulties! 

Email communityenergy@nrel.gov if you’re having trouble submitting (before 5 p.m. ET) 

 

We can’t wait to read about your work!  


Submission Deadline Fast Approaching!

July 9, 2024, 2:46 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

For the CONCEPT Phase winners of both Ecosystem Tracks, don’t miss this chance to win up to $100,000 and in-kind mentorship services! The deadline to submit your PROGRESS Phase submissions is before 5 p.m. ET on Friday, July 19. We highly recommend getting all materials submitted before then to avoid any network difficulties or long upload times. 
Here’s what a complete submission looks like: 

  • Progress Report (will be scored, won’t be made public) 
  • Evidence of Progress (will be scored, won’t be made public) 

For more details on submission requirements, please see the official prize rules. Review the submission template to ensure you’re providing all the required information. If you are having technical difficulties ahead of the submission deadline, email the prize team at communityenergy@nrel.gov.  

Lastly, remember that Power Connectors are here to support you!

Best of luck,

Community Energy Innovation Prize Team


Congratulations to the Collegiate Winners of the Community Energy Innovation Prize!

June 26, 2024, 11:06 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

At the Community Energy Innovation Summit held on June 25 in Washington, DC, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the final winning teams in the IMPACT Phase of the Collegiate Track of the CEI prize.

Through their submissions and in-person pitches, the three winning teams showed outstanding impacts on their local communities, strong ties to their community partners, and tremendous leadership by the teams' student leaders. The teams' community partners were awarded a total of $100,000 for the IMPACT phase, bringing the total prize money awarded to $235,000 across the collegiate competition. 

The following teams were named winners of the IMPACT Phase in the Collegiate Track:

  • Greener CASA, The University of Texas at Tyler
    • Awarded $45,000 for their community partner, the Monarca Initiative
    • Creating an academia-community partnership to bring free energy audits to disadvantaged communities to promote energy efficiency.
  • Georgia Tech Zero Energy Collaborations (GTZEC), Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Awarded $30,000 for their community partner, the Westside Future Fund and Lifecycle Building Center
    • Designing and building sustainable net-zero homes to address energy challenges, develop a green workforce, and train the next generation of sustainability professionals in Westside Atlanta.
  • GreenSynergy, The University of Texas at Tyler
    • Awarded $25,000 for their community partner, Houston Community College
    • Integrating clean energy into education, and using solar panels, fuel cells, and other technologies to foster learning and sustainability.
Several people standing together with large checks

Read what the the U.S. Department of Energy wrote about the winners here.


Congratulations, Clean Energy Ecosystem Track and Manufacturing Ecosystem Track CONCEPT Phase Winners!

March 26, 2024, 7:09 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The first phase of the Community Energy Innovation Prize for the Ecosystem Tracks has drawn to a close. In the CONCEPT Phase, 23 teams were awarded $100,000 each and will also receive in-kind mentorship as they move on to the PROGRESS Phase. Teams were selected based on the strength of their team, their connection to the target community, the needs of the target community, and the projected impact of their clean energy initiatives. 

These teams will now use their cash prizes in the next phase to progress their planned community activities. Teams will report on their progress in July 2024, where they will compete to receive additional cash awards and mentorship services as a part of the PROGRESS Phase. Read the official announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy. 

  

The Clean Energy Ecosystem Track CONCEPT Phase winners are: 

 

Community Through Colors, Isabel Segunda, Vieques, PR 

  • Accelerating the development of microgrids to rural and disadvantaged communities, community service centers, and local businesses to increase distribution capacity for essential services. 

Convivencia Hispana Energy Navigators, St. James, MN 

  • Developing a community energy navigator program to provide free energy audits to residents and increase clean energy capacity. 

East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) and Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF), Minneapolis, MN 

  • Building a solar array on a former superfund site that is member-owned by neighbor residents. 

First State Community Green Energy Coalition, Wilmington, DE 

  • Building a Community Clean Energy Hub powered by solar, that provides workforce training and clean energy jobs for a Justice40 community. 

Innovate Gloucester, Gloucester, MA 

  • Deploying advanced clean energy technology at the local high school to benefit Justice40 communities. 

LEI Foundation Energize Wai’anae Moku, Wai’anae, HI 

  • Growing the Energy Warriors program through a series of workshops and events and identifying priorities to co-design an energy project. 

People Power: Energy Security | Ownership, Fort Smith, AR 

  • Bringing the r benefits of clean energy to Fort Smith’s disadvantaged neighborhoods via solar installations on community centers. 

Pomona, CA – Direct-to-Renter Clean Energy Program, Pomona, CA 

  • Engaging low-income renters to co-create a direct-to-renter clean energy program that is scalable and transferrable nationwide. 

Project:HOMES, Tangier, VA 

  • Serving the remote, climate-vulnerable community of Tangier Island with weatherization services and building a network of trained contractors. 

RESCo Innovation Team, Rosebud Sioux Reservation, SD 

  • Coordinating clean energy efforts in transportation, finance, efficiency, and renewable and workforce development for the local community. 

Requity Foundation, Baltimore, MD 

  • Breaking down barriers between vocational education and the clean energy workforce through a variety of projects engaging the local community. 

Shake Energy Collaborative, Honolulu, HI 

  • Supporting historically disinvested communities in Hawai’i to co-design renewable energy projects and bid for upcoming utility procurements. 

Team Bean, New Orleans, LA 

  • Engaging youth in the decision-making process, planning, and funding of energy resilience projects and programming. 

 

The Manufacturing Ecosystem Track CONCEPT Phase winners are: 

 

APLUS, Arlington, TX 

  • Providing hands-on power electronic training to underserved students, while bridging the gap between lab learning and job searching. 

CEIP Warren, Warren, OH 

  • Combining manufacturing skills education with energy entrepreneurship, while fostering a vibrant hub of inclusivity and innovation. 

Clean Tech Innovation Network, Chicago, IL 

  • Supporting manufacturing-based innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation for women and BIPOC to support grid modernization. 

Eighth Generation Consulting, Pawhuska, OK 

  • Supporting a solar recycling startup and empowering Indigenous communities through training, while blending traditional wisdom with economic growth objectives. 

Green Leap Riverside, Riverside County, CA 

  • Empowering manufacturers to reduce energy use and foster collaboration for a clean and sustainable future in Riverside County. 

IMPACTT, Evansville, IN 

  • Supporting economic development through entrepreneurial education, fostering manufacturing talent pipelines, and community engagement. 

Metals Innovation Initiative (MI2), Four Counties in KY 

  • Revitalizing Kentucky metals manufacturing by implementing clean energy conversion, statewide recycling, and innovative workforce solutions in former coal communities. 

PDX Clean Industry Network, Portland, OR 

  • Supporting sustainable solutions to jumpstart an industrial symbiosis ecosystem in Portland’s Columbia Corridor. 

Scale for ClimateTech, New York State 

  • Bringing the Climate Equity Module to centers in NY state and fostering a shared vision of equitable innovation. 

Southland Development Authority Team, Tinley Park, IL 

  • Creating  an engineering internship program, a cutting-edge manufacturing facility, and clean energy industry partnerships 

Congratulations, Collegiate Track PROGRESS Phase Winners! 

 

The second phase of the Community Energy Innovation Prize Collegiate Track has drawn to a close. In the PROGRESS Phase, three winners were awarded an additional $20,000 each, via their Community Partner, and in-kind mentorships as they move on to the final IMPACT Phase.  

  

The Collegiate Track PROGRESS Phase winners are: 

 

Greener CASA, Tyler, TX 

  • Creating an academia-community partnership to bring free energy audits to underserved communities and promote energy efficiency. 

GreenSynergy, Houston, TX 

  • Integrating clean energy into education — utilizing solar panels, fuel cells, and other technologies to foster learning and inspire the future clean energy workforce. 

Solar Decathlon at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA 

  • Designing and building a net-zero home to address energy challenges, develop a green workforce, and train the next generation of sustainable professionals in Westside Atlanta.

 

Thank you to all competitors for your participation in the Community Energy Innovation Prize! 


Upcoming Winners Announcement

March 22, 2024, 7:56 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Thank you for your continuing patience as the winners announcement for the Community Energy Innovation Prize is finalized. We plan to post the announcement as soon as it is ready. Your understanding is greatly appreciated!

CEI Prize Administration Team


Forum34
Teams2.4K
Entries
Resources
FAQ
Upcoming Events