The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize is a $10 million prize competition designed tofast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects.
The goal of this prize is to grow a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States.
Structured to Accelerate Community Solar Investments
This three-phase prize aims to increase the number of equitable community solar projects by providing funding and resources for developers and co-developers throughout the project pre-development process, including:
Tools and resources to connect developers with private sector project financing for community solar projects using a standardized process.
Training to understand the full cycle of community solar development, including site acquisition, community relations, customer acquisition, securing financing, costs, and the unique challenges and benefits of a community solar model.
Free consulting services to competitors on the steps necessary to get a community solar project financed.
Coaching on expanding developers’ solar customer markets to include low- and moderate-income populations, disadvantaged communities, and local workforce development, as well as increase resilience to power outages and household savings to make community solar projects attractive to the widest range of customers possible.
By the end of the prize, competitors will be ready to engage with the Community Power Accelerator online platform, which provides a place for competitors to shop their credit-ready projects around to verified project developers, investors, and philanthropic organizations.
Join us for an informational webinar to learn more about the Community Power Accelerator Prize:
During the webinar we’ll give participants an overview of the Community Power Accelerator Prize, submission requirements, scoring criteria, and winner selection process. Competitors will also have an opportunity to ask questions.
Community Power Accelerator Prize Phases
Anticipated Number of Awards
Phase 1: Ready!
Up to 25,
with an expected range of 15-25
$50,000 per winning competitor
(total prize pool: $1,250,000)
Phase 2: Set!
6 months (anticipated)
Up to 25,
with an expected range of 15-20
$200,000 per winning competitor
(total prize pool: $5,000,000)
Phase 3: Grow!
6 months (anticipated)
Up to 25,
with an expected range of 10-20
$150,000 per winning competitor
(total prize pool: $3,750,000)
The Five Meaningful Benefits of Community Solar
One of the key goals of the Community Power Accelerator Prize is to support and grow a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States.These benefits provided by community solar subscriptions can build consumer trust and ensure that everyone can participate in the clean energy transition.
The Community Power Accelerator Prize provides funding and resources to empower developers to deploy community solar projects that provide at least two of the following five meaningful benefits to subscribers and their communities:
Low- to moderate-income (LMI) household access
Greater household savings
Resilience and grid benefits
Equitable workforce development
Powering Change Beyond the Prize
This prize is part of the larger Community Power Accelerator program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy National Community Solar Partnership. It brings together investors, philanthropic organizations, developers, community-based organizations, and technical experts in one online ecosystem to accelerate the deployment of the funds needed to drive a more equitable clean energy transition.
The Community Power Accelerator online platform will create a pipeline of credit-ready community solar projects—particularly those that provide benefits to underserved communities—and connect them with mission-aligned investors and philanthropic organizations to get funding.
The prize supports this initiative by providing funding and resources to stand up or expand community solar project development practices and develop a pipeline of multiple projects for new community solar project developers.
Who Can Compete?
The Community Power Accelerator Prize is open to U.S. community solar developers, including new developers, co-developers (organizations who are partnering with a project developer), or developers who are expanding their community solar operations.
The prize encourages organizations who are new to community solar development to apply to this prize, including (but are not limited to):
Multifamily affordable housing providers
Community and economic development organizations
Intermediary organizations such as community development financial institutions
Community-based organizations that have real estate portfolios and/or are in construction
General contractors with roofing and/or electrical experience
Traditional solar project developers who are looking to expand into the community solar space
Socially and economically disadvantaged individual (SEDI) demographics-related business and women and minority-owned businesses.
Other large real estate holders that could be available for solar deployment
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 .
The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize is a $10 million prize competition designed tofast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects. The American-Made Solar Prize is directed and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Learn more.
Join Community Power Accelerator Prize administrators on Feb. 1 for an informational webinar on the new $10 million competition and how you can get involved!
The Community Power Accelerator Prize is designed to fast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects. During the three-phase competition, competitors will craft project proposals, participate in online learning, and secure investment commitments.