American-Made Challenges


Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize Round 2

The Office of Technology Transitions EPIC Prize incentivizes incubators that implement high-impact ideas to support energy startups.

This challenge is closed

$4,000,000 Prize Pool

This challenge is closed


The Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize recognizes the nation’s most innovative incubators. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), the EPIC Prize awards cash prizes to regional incubator teams that submit the most creative and impactful plans, then implement those plans to develop strong clusters, connections, and support for energy startups and entrepreneurs. 

Technology startups often require more than just capital to launch, grow, and scale innovations. Incubators are crucial in providing entrepreneurs mentorship, technology validation, business development, connections to manufacturers, and more to strengthen the America’s clean energy future. The prize seeks to address a capital gap in supporting these critical organizations by providing funds to be applied where incubators need them most. Providing capital to enable creative, forward-thinking organizations is necessary to allow these groups to think more expansively about the role of incubators in the broader regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Core to the EPIC Prize Round 2 is the incubator program, which consists of three phases: 

  • Design It! 
  • Move It! 
  • Prove It! 

The Move It! and Prove It! phases will also include a pitch competition in which incubators can nominate energy startups for a chance to win up to $50,000.

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

Announcing EPIC Prize Round 2 Finalists!

April 17, 2023, 12:36 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Congratulations to the teams selected to move onto Phase 3 as EPIC Prize Round 2 finalists! These 10 incubators and accelerators will each be awarded $100,000 in cash prizes for implementing their high-impact ideas that are catalyzing place-based energy innovation. See below for the full list of finalist teams.

All Phase 2 participants will receive reviewers’ comments within the next few weeks. For those teams selected to move onto Phase 3, check your email for next steps. We will be sharing a registration link to the Phase 3 informational webinar soon. 

EPIC Prize Round 2 Finalists:

  • ADL Ventures (Charleston, WV)
  • Black and Veatch (Overland Park, KS)
  • Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (Stony Brook, NY)
  • VentureWell (Hadley, MA)
  • FORGE (Somerville, MA)
  • GPV Solutions (Austell, GA)
  • Positive Deviancy (Sterling, VA)
  • LabStart (Golden, CO)
  • REACH (Fort Collins, CO)
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (Los Angeles, CA)

You can find more information about the prize, semifinalist teams, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions on

Read the full press release on 

Congratulations again!

EPIC Prize Official Rules - Now Updated!

April 10, 2023, 10:12 a.m. PDT by National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The official rules now include…

  • The downselect process for the Prove It!: Core Start-Up Pitch Competition
  • The prize money for the Prove It Core Start-Up Pitch Competition
  • Eligibility and participation details to the Prove It!: Core Start-Up Pitch Competition
  • the Solar Energy Technologies Office Start-Up Pitch Competition Bonus Prize (Appendix 4)

Access the updated rules here and in the resources tab!

You’re Invited to the EPIC Pitch Competition

Feb. 23, 2023, 3:46 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Get a front seat to innovation at the most epic cleantech pitch competition of the year! On March 30, 2023, the EPIC Showcase will feature 24 leading cleantech start-ups, hand-selected by the nation’s most innovative incubators. 

Through the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize, the DOE Office of Technology Transitions, in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has recognized 24 incubators across the country playing a key role in supporting regional energy innovation clusters. OTT supports technology commercialization and drives the private sector uptake of clean energy technologies to advance the economic, energy, and national security interests of the nation.

These award-winning incubators are nominating startups from their networks to compete for over $150,000 in prizes at a virtual pitch competition on March 30, 2023, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET. Come and go as you can. 

Register for the event here:

EPIC Prize Round 2 Semifinalists Announced!

Dec. 6, 2022, 9:02 a.m. PST by NREL

Congratulations to the 24 teams advancing to Phase 2 as EPIC Prize Round 2 semifinalists. See below for the full list of semifinalist teams representing a wide range of technology focus areas including the built environment, storage, food security, manufacturing, solar, workforce training, the blue economy, carbon reduction, and more. 

You can find more information about the prize, semifinalist teams, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions on

All Phase 1 participants will receive reviewers’ comments within the next few weeks. For those teams selected to move on to Phase 2, check your email for your next steps and please register for the Phase 2 Informational Webinar

EPIC Prize Round 2 Semifinalists

New & Emerging 

  • GPV Solutions (Austell, Ga.) 
  • BlueSwell  (Cambridge, Mass.) 
  • ClimateHaven (New Haven, Conn.) 
  • IoT Conduit (Burlington, Vt.) 
  • Imani Works (Chicago, Ill.) 
  • LabStart (Golden, Colo.) 
  • ADL Ventures (Charleston, W.Va.) 
  • Positive Deviancy (Sterling, Va.) 
  • REACH (Fort Collins, Colo.) 
  • Northwest Xcelerator (Portland, Ore.) 


  • Black and Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.) 
  • Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (Stony Brook, N.Y.) 
  • Braid Theory (San Pedro, Calif.) 
  • VentureWell/TechTown Detroit (Hadley, Mass. and Detroit, Mich.) 
  • FORGE (Somerville, Mass.) 
  • The Koffman Incubator (Binghamton, N.Y.) 
  • Grid Catalyst (Minneapolis, Minn.) 
  • The Arrowhead Center (La Cruces, N.M.) 
  • Evergreen Climate Innovations  (Chicago, Ill.).
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (Los Angeles, Calif.) 

Bonus Prize Winners 

Today: EPIC Prize Round 2 Submissions Due by 5 p.m. ET!

Oct. 25, 2022, 10:11 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Incubators: Make sure your Design It! submissions are uploaded no later than 5 p.m. ET today!

 As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit: 

  • Video (public)
  • Cover page content
  • Core narrative (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional).

Make sure you review the rules carefully and use the submission template to complete your entry. Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. ET and we will not accept late submissions. We highly recommend uploading your submission as early as possible to avoid connectivity issues or upload delays. 

Good luck!