American-Made Challenges



Enabling innovative solutions for local energy-related challenges.


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).


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.


Challenge Updates

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

Webinar Recording/Q&A, and Power Connector Support Are Now Available!

Feb. 6, 2024, 1:49 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Dear SOLVE IT Prize Competitors, 

We hope you all are brimming with innovative ideas following our introductory webinar last week. Your engagement and insightful questions made the session incredibly fruitful, and we appreciate your enthusiasm and curiosity.

We also want to remind you of the invaluable support available from our Power Connector organizations. These partners are here to help you refine your proposals, answer any questions, and provide guidance to enhance your chances of success. Office hours are available, and you can sign up by using these links: 

Additionally, detailed descriptions of each Power Connector organization can be found under the Resources tab. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to leverage their expertise!

Thank you for your participation and dedication. Together, we are driving innovation forward!

- The SOLVE IT Prize Administration Team

Register Now for the SOLVE IT Prize Informational Webinar and Receive Free Support from Our Power Connectors!

Jan. 22, 2024, 10:39 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Greetings SOLVE IT Prize Competitors, 

We’re excited to invite you to an essential EMBARK Phase Introductory Webinar scheduled for January 30 at 3 p.m. ET. This session is packed with valuable insights and overviews that are crucial for your journey with us. Be sure to register in advance!

We also want to highlight our esteemed Power Connectors, who generously provide complimentary support to competitors like you! ADL Ventures and Entrepreneurs Future Network (EFN) are industry leaders known for their expertise and commitment to fostering success. Don’t miss this opportunity to benefit from their guidance! The Power Connectors full details and contact information are available under the HeroX Resources tab.

Reserve your spot today for the Introductory Webinar and take the next big step in your journey!

- The SOLVE IT Prize Administration Team

Welcome to the SOLVE IT Prize!

Dec. 18, 2023, 3:09 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

Announced last week, the Solutions for Lasting, Viable Energy Infrastructure Technologies (SOLVE IT) Prize will award nearly $5 million to help communities find solutions to their energy-related challenges. The prize aims to grow the number of communities interested in promising future clean energy projects while facilitating wider, more equitable technology uptake.   

The prize will officially open for submissions beginning in January 2024. For now, we encourage you to set yourself up for success by getting familiar with HeroX. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Click “Follow” at the top of the page so you can stay up to date on future prize developments.
  • Review the Summary page and Timeline for an initial introduction to the prize structure.
  • Use the Forum tab to post your questions and learn from other participants. 
  • Connect with other competitors under the Teams page.

Stay tuned for the publication of the official rules document, detailing eligibility, competitor requirements and more. Until then, subsequent updates and announcements for the SOLVE IT Prize will be posted here on HeroX. 

We look forward to your participation in this exciting opportunity!

- The SOLVE It Prize Administration Team