menu

American-Made Challenges

 36,950

SOLVE IT Prize

Enabling innovative solutions for local energy-related challenges.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging
prize:
$5,000,000

This challenge is closed

more
Summary
Timeline
Updates8
Forum16
Teams1.1K
Entries
Resources
FAQ
Summary

Overview

The Solutions for Lasting, Viable Energy Infrastructure Technologies (SOLVE IT) Prize aims to empower communities to identify and implement innovative clean energy solutions in a way that works for their unique needs and challenges. 

Communities across the country are faced with long-standing energy challenges, including pollution from heavy industry and other sources, high energy costs, aging grid infrastructure, and more. Clean energy technologies can help address many of these challenges while providing other economic, health, and workforce benefits. 

Many communities, however, lack the resources and capacity to consider the best possible approach to a clean energy transition. The SOLVE IT Prize was designed to support communities as they identify and implement innovative clean energy solutions in a way that works best to address their unique needs and challenges. In doing so, the SOLVE IT Prize looks to promote the commercialization of promising energy technologies that will lead to an equitable and just energy transition.

The prize will award competitors with a demonstrated history of productive work with communities. Competitors will work collaboratively with stakeholders interested in community-scale (neighborhood-, town-, or city-scale) planning around clean energy to engage their communities, build a network of support for clean energy or decarbonization projects, and develop plans for carrying out these projects.

 

Prize Structure

Over three phases, competitors will work with communities to develop a credible path forward on clean energy projects that help address local challenges. 

Embark Phase: Competitors will identify a community, a challenge facing that community that can be addressed by a clean technology solution, and a clear plan for engaging with the community. Competitors will demonstrate that they have what it takes to carry out their project. 

Engage Phase: Teams will engage with their community stakeholders to develop the community’s vision for their future clean energy or decarbonization project.   

Establish Phase: Teams will create plans for carrying out at least one specific, technically novel clean energy or decarbonization project. Winners will demonstrate proof that they have obtained the confirmed commitments needed to carry out their projects.

For more information, review the official rules document.

 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) have collaborated to launch the SOLVE IT Prize. The prize is part of the American-Made program and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SOLVE IT is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).


Guidelines

The competition is open to individuals, nonprofits, local government entities, economic development organizations, educational institutions, and other organizations with a history of successful participatory community-based initiatives. Of particular focus are disadvantaged and energy-burdened communities at the neighborhood, town, and city scale.

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

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize click the "Follow" button at the top of the page. If you have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or message us directly.

Timeline
Updates8

Challenge Updates

SOLVE IT Prize Submission Deadline is This Friday!

April 8, 2024, 9:06 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

This week is your last chance to apply for the $5 million SOLVE IT Prize! Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this change-making competition.   

 

As a reminder, the prize is seeking competitors with a demonstrated history of productive work with communities. Competitors will work collaboratively with stakeholders interested in community-scale planning around clean energy to engage their communities, build a network of support for clean energy or decarbonization projects, and develop plans for carrying out these projects. 

 

Ready to apply? Here’s how to get started:  

  1. Register on HeroX (click “Solve this Challenge”) 
  2. Submit a narrative describing your past community experience, your chosen community and energy challenges, community needs that you have identified, and the engagement plan you have crafted—ideally using the Submission Template and Summary Slide Template.  
  3. Include optional one-page letters of support or other documentation from partners or other relevant entities that are critical to the success of your effort.  

  

Please see the official SOLVE IT Prize rules for additional submission details, and explore the Resources tab to view all available resources that can help you craft your submission.    

 

Reach out to the prize team directly at solveit@nrel.gov with any further questions. Good luck!    


Streamline Your Submission with Two Valuable Resources

March 29, 2024, 8:20 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The SOLVE IT submission deadline is coming up April 12 — just two weeks away! Still need help with yours? Take advantage of two important resources.  

  

Submission Templates  

Competitors are strongly encouraged to utilize the Submission Template and Summary Slide Template to guide their submission. The templates already include space for all of the mandatory submission elements to help ensure you don’t miss any important information.  

 

Power Connectors  

Power Connectors are organizations that support American-Made prize competitors by answering questions, providing feedback, and sharing their expertise. 

Two Power Connectors, ADL Ventures and Entrepreneur Futures Network, are available to assist all applicants to the SOLVE IT Prize, and are hosting office hours up until the submission deadline. Don’t miss the chance to leverage their invaluable guidance!   

 

Don’t forget, you can still stream the informational webinar recording and view the accompanying slides, and review the Q&A from the webinar. Reach out to the prize team directly at solveit@nrel.gov with further questions.    


Explore Submission Resources Available Now

March 19, 2024, 2:16 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The deadline to submit to the SOLVE IT Prize is less than a month away! Explore a variety of resources that can help you prep your submission.   

 

Available Resources 

 

Submissions are due April 12 at 5 p.m. ET. Still have questions? Feel free to email the prize team directly at solveit@nrel.gov.   


Watch and Share the New SOLVE IT Prize Promotional Video!

March 13, 2024, 3:32 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

A new video gives a brief introduction to the SOLVE IT Prize, its $5 million prize pool, and the goals it hopes to accomplish! You’re invited to watch now and share with others interested in joining the prize and helping communities find solutions to their energy-related challenges.   

As a reminder, the SOLVE IT Prize submission deadline is April 12 at 5 p.m. ET. After registering on HeroX, interested competitors must submit a narrative describing their experience, their community and energy challenges, community needs that you have identified, and the engagement plan you have crafted. (Please see the official SOLVE IT Prize rules for additional submission details.)  

For further details, view the informational webinar recording and slides or the Q&A from the session. Still have questions? Feel free to email the prize team directly at solveit@nrel.gov.   


Submission Templates and Select List of Federal Community-Focused Environmental and Energy Programs Are Now Available!

Feb. 13, 2024, 8:07 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Dear SOLVE IT Prize Competitors, 

We are thrilled to announce that the submission templates (narrative and summary slide) and Select List of Federal Community-Focused Environmental and Energy Programs are now available! You can easily find and download them under the Resources tab in HeroX. 

The templates are designed to guide you through the submission process, ensuring your entry meets all the required criteria. 

The list of federal community-focused environmental and energy programs is for competitors to leverage as they see fit.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

- The SOLVE IT Prize Administration Team


Forum16
Teams1.1K
Entries
Resources
FAQ