American-Made Challenges


Solar Prize Round 1

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation.
$1,000,000 distributed equally with a range of $25,000 to $50,000 in cash per winner (see Rules)

Challenge Overview

This competition is closed to the general public, learn about out the competitors who are competing in the Set! and Go! Contests.

Interested in competing?  There is a new round of the competition open to the public, join the challenge.


Solar Prize Contests

Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together. With the Solar Prize, teams of creative individuals and entrepreneurs will advance conceptual solutions toward product realities with the support of a unique and powerful network and a chance to win up to $3 million in cash prizes.



A prize competition structured for success

The Solar Prize is an opportunity for anyone interested in accelerating ideas and solutions. The American-Made Network is designed to strengthen and scale the very best ideas and teams through three progressive prize competitions, the Ready! Set! Go! Contests. This network provides the tools and expertise to help projects succeed and is comprised of an unparalleled innovation system. These resources will provide technical insight, product validation, and strategic support to teams throughout the competition.


Competing in the prize is easy!

  1. Identify an important problem you want to solve (discover ideas through ideation on HeroX)
  2. Submit a 90-second video describing your challenge and proposed solution, team, and plan
  3. Answer a short, four-question narrative and make a slide about this problem or challenge
  4. Submit a two-page technical assistance request
  5. Update your videos and statements as you advance through the contests.


More than $3 million in incentives for innovation

The Ready! Set! Go! Contests will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to solar industry needs for a total of $3 million in cash prizes and up to $525,000 in vouchers which can be used at national laboratories and other voucher facilities to develop, test, and validate. Each stage will have a 90-day performance period when participants work to advance their solutions.


Ready!20 to 40$1,000,000 distributed equally with a range of $25,000 to $50,000 in cash per winner
Set!5 to 10$1,000,000 in cash and $375,000 in vouchers distributed within a range of $100,000 to $200,000 in cash and $37,500 to $75,000 in vouchers per winner
Go!2$500,000 in cash and up to $75,000 in vouchers per winner


The Ready! Set! and Go! Contests



It all starts with a big idea. You can enter the Ready! Contest with an idea from the ideation platform or an idea that’s all your own. Once a completed package has been submitted on HeroX, your video will be made public and you’ll become part of the Ready! Contest.


  • Ready! Contest
    90 days / 20-40 winners / up to $50,000 cash 
    Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in the solar industry;


  • Set! Contest
    90 days / 5-10 winners / up to $200,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers 
    Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.


  • Go! Contest
    90 days / 2 winners / $500,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers 
    ​Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.


  • Demo Days
    Competitors in the Set! and Go! Contests pitch and demonstrate proof of concepts and prototypes to a judging panel and audience at two, live, in-person Demo Day events. Demo days are opportunities to meet competitors, connectors, power connectors, and other members of the American-Made Network. Demo Days culminate in the announcement of Set! and Go! prize winners.


Anyone can compete

Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams, legally residing or based in the U.S., can compete including members of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform ideas into impactful realities.


Ready!, Set!, Go! Guidelines

The Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to meet solar industry needs. Each stage will include a contest period when participants will work to rapidly advance their solutions. DOE invites anyone, individually or as a team, to compete to transform a conceptual solution into product reality.

Please visit the How to Compete in the American-Made Solar Prize page to view the full rules for American-Made Challenges Ideation and the American-Made Challenges Solar Prize.



The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country. 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.


Challenge Timeline

Feb. 1, 2018, 2:16 p.m. PST
Date Launched
June 7, 2018, 8 a.m. PDT
Submission and public voting Opens: June 7, 2018
July 11, 2018, 1 p.m. PDT
American-Made Solar Prize Informational Webinar
Learn more about the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation. This webinar will focus on the role of competitors in the prize process, as we discuss how competitors can best compete and improve their chances for success.

Register here:
July 31, 2018, 6 p.m. PDT
Ideation and Team Building Workshop - Cleanweb SF
This meetup is all about creating teams, submitting ideas, and learning more about the ins and outs of the competition. We're a network connector for the competition so we'll be giving feedback, connecting teams with investors, advisors, manufacturers and other entities to make you successful.

We'll have Ammar Qusaibaty from the Department of Energy there to give feedback and answer questions too.
Aug. 7, 2018, 11 p.m. PDT
For interested entrepreneurs in the greater San Diego region, Cleantech San Diego will be hosting an Information Session about the American-Made Solar Prize Challenge(s). The session will feature a presentation from Ammar Qusaibaty, who supports DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. Ammar will address eligibility criteria, prizes, and the application process for each of the contests. Don't forget - applications for the first contest (the Ready! Contest) are due October 5!

August 30th, 8:00 - 9:30 am
Registration/Networking: 8:00 - 8:30 am
Program: 8:30 - 9:30 am

2159 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Register at

We also plan to stream the event live for those who can't attend in person on Cleantech San Diego’s Facebook Page:
Sept. 13, 2018, 10:30 a.m. PDT
InnovateABQ Kick-Off Luncheon
InnovateABQ, one of our fellow Connectors, is hosting a luncheon which is open to the public to help promote the American-Made Solar Prize! Follow @InnovateABQ to learn more.
Sept. 13, 2018, 1 p.m. PDT
Count down to the Ready! Submission
On Thursday, September 13 at 2:00PM MT, we will be hosting a webinar to discuss how to compete in the American-Made Solar Prize. On this webinar, we’ll detail everything you’ll need to include in your Ready! Contest submission package for the October 5 deadline—including the short video—and how you’ll be evaluated. We will also discuss the help that will be available to you throughout the competition and preview of some of the exciting events we have planned at Solar Power International in Anaheim, CA September 24-27.

Please register for American-Made Solar Prize - Count down to the Ready! Submission onSep 13, 2018 2:00 PM MDTat:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Sept. 25, 2018, 5 p.m. PDT
American-Made Solar Prize Networking
Join the DOE Solar Prize team, competitors, and American-Made Network members at SPI's "Beers with Peers" networking event.

Location: Energy Storage International Exhibit Area

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM (PST)
Sept. 26, 2018, 3:30 p.m. PDT
Movers and Makers: Spurring Solar Innovation through Prize Competitions
Learn how to participate in the American-Made Solar Prize, discuss how solar businesses can benefit from Ideation, and discover the American-Made Network.

Location: Installer Training on the Exhibit Floor, Booth 1486

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PST)
Sept. 29, 2018, 9 a.m. PDT
Los Alamos Makers - Solar Prize Engage Event
Los Alamos Makers will be holding an Engage event on Saturday, September 29th

Time of event: 10AM to 12PM
Location: Los Alamos Makers
3540 Orange street
Los Alamos, NM, 87544

Dial-in number at 605-472-5628
Online Meeting ID: hello347
Sept. 29, 2018, 3 p.m. PDT
Colorado Maker Hub - Community Connect
Colorado Maker Hub will host an event for a focused discussion on the American-Made Solar Prize. This event is open to the public and will be held at the Pikes Peak Makerspace in Colorado Springs. For more information, please feel free to contact the Colorado Maker Hub.

Time: Sep 29, 2018 4:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 410 559 285
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16468769923,,410559285# or +14086380986,,410559285#
Or Telephone:
US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 408 638 0986
Oct. 2, 2018, 12:45 p.m. PDT
Final Ready! Contest Competitor Webinar
This webinar will cover:
--Last minute office hours
--Deep dive into Ranking Requirements
--Encourage ongoing relationships with Connectors to prepare for Ready, Set, Go!
Oct. 2, 2018, 2:30 p.m. PDT
JMU X-Labs - Solar Prize Engage Event
JMU X-Labs will be holding an Engage event on Tuesday October 2nd 2018 - from 5:30-6:30 PM EST.

Link to FB event :

Link to eventbrite:

Webex Link:
Oct. 2, 2018, 3:30 p.m. PDT
Nova Labs - American-Made Solar Prize Info Session
Information Session for potential contestants, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to learn about the Solar Competition.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Nova Labs (Classrooms A and B)
1916 Isaac Newton Square W · Reston, VA

Join URL:
Oct. 2, 2018, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Initial Ideation Submission Period end
Initial Ideation Submission Period deadline: October 2, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET.

Ideation will stay open for new submissions throughout the competition. However, to receive a $1,000 recognition payment, the submission must be entered prior to this date.
Oct. 3, 2018, 2 p.m. PDT
Indie Lab - Information Event
Weds 10/3/18 at 5PM EST Indie Lab is entering the American-Made Solar Prize competition!

What is the prize and what could it mean for the Richmond community? Come find out at our presentation event, then help us put Richmond on the map for solar innovations!

This event is FREE and open to the public!
Oct. 3, 2018, 3 p.m. PDT
Colorado School of Mines Maker Society - Solar Challenge Informational Event
Wednesday, October 3 at 4pm (Mountain Time) in the Blaster Design Factory (our student-controlled makerspace)

Bluejeans link for conferencing in:
Oct. 4, 2018, 2:30 p.m. PDT
MakeHaven - Great Minds Making Change!
MakeHaven is hosting an event on October 4th.

You may join or listen in via Google Hangout at:

It is posted at:

Oct. 4, 2018, 5 p.m. PDT
Hammerspace - Information and Team Formation Session
Hammerspace is proud to announce that they will be supporting the American-Made Solar Challenge as a Connector Organization that can provide fabrication and support for competing teams.
Oct. 5, 2018, 3 p.m. PDT
MakerFX - Solar Prize Engage Event
MakerFX Makerspace
8600 Commodity Circle
Orlando, FL 32819

Friday, Oct. 5th, 2018
6:00pm EST

We'll be live streaming on Facebook,
Oct. 5, 2018, 4 p.m. PDT
NWLA Makerspace - Solar Prize Meetup
NWLA Makerspace will be holding an info session on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 6 PM – 7 PM CDT

500 Clyde Fant Pkwy, Ste 200, Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
Oct. 5, 2018, 8:59 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Ready! Contest submission deadline: October 5, 2018 11:59 PM ET
Oct. 6, 2018, 11 a.m. PDT
Ready! Contest peer-ranking open
Ready! Content peer-ranking: October 6 – 10, 2018 11:59 AM ET
Oct. 10, 2018, 8:59 a.m. PDT
Ready! Contest peer-ranking close
Ready! Content peer-ranking: October 6 – 10, 2018 11:59 AM ET
Oct. 11, 2018, 11 p.m. PDT
Judging Preparation
Judges assigned to submission entries
Oct. 13, 2018, 11 p.m. PDT
Judges will evaluate your submissions by agreeing or disagreeing with assigned statements.
Oct. 29, 2018, midnight PDT
Judging Closed
Feb. 26, 2019, 11 p.m. PST
Ready! Contest Semifinalists Announced
Feb. 27, 2019, midnight PST
Round 1 Set! and Go! Contests begin
Feb. 27, 2019, 1 a.m. PST
Registration Closed
May 20, 2019, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Set! Contest submission deadline for Round 1
5pm ET
May 20, 2019, 5 p.m. PDT
June 5, 2019, 11 p.m. PDT
Set! Contest Demo Day
Round 1 Set! Contest Demo Day: Hosted at Greentown Labs in Boston
June 28, 2019, 7 a.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Aug. 20, 2019, midnight PDT
Sept. 4, 2019, 2 p.m. PDT
Go! Submission Deadline
Go! Contest submission deadline for Round 1
5pm ET
Sept. 4, 2019, 11 p.m. PDT
Sept. 24, 2019, 7 a.m. PDT
Go! Contest Demo Day
Round 1 Go! Contest Demo Day: Hosted at Solar Power International in Salt Lake City
Sept. 24, 2019, 10:59 p.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Sept. 24, 2019, 11 p.m. PDT
Oct. 27, 2020, 7:29 p.m. PDT
You are here
Updates 27

Challenge Updates

Happening Today: Find Out Who Will Advance as a Round 3 Finalist & Hear a Surprise Announcement

July 8, 2020, 12:16 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Last week, 20 Round 3 semifinalist teams submitted their Set! Contest pitch videos. Tomorrow, teams are participating in private Q&A sessions with a panel of expert reviewers. Friday, we’ll find out which 10 teams were selected to continue to the Go! Contest as finalists. 

Join us Friday, July 10 at 1 p.m. ET to hear Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, announce the finalists. Each of the 10 finalist teams will win $100,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers for their solar technologies. 

The announcement will feature speakers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and U.S. Department of Energy, who will be discussing the importance of innovation in the renewable sector. Plus, we’ll be making a surprise announcement you won’t want to miss.

Register here for this monumental finalist announcement!

A picture containing food

Description automatically generated

Congratulations to the two Round 1 Winners!

Oct. 1, 2019, 9:18 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

On Sept. 24, 13 teams from Round 1 of the Solar Prize made their final pitches to a panel of expert reviewers and an audience of solar industry experts at Solar Power International in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the end of the day, two teams emerged as the final winners, each winning $500,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in vouchers. Congratulations to teams Phase3 Photovoltaics and Solar Inventions! 

The entire Solar Prize team enjoyed getting to know each of you throughout the Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests. Each team made extraordinary progress developing your innovations and business models. We encourage you to continue leveraging the American-Made Network to pursue your innovations and welcome new ideas in Round 3.

A sincere and celebratory thank you for competing in the inaugural American-Made Solar Prize!

To your continued success, 

The Solar Prize Team 

Congratulations to Set! Demo Day Finalists

June 21, 2019, 3:16 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Set! Demo Day in Boston was a huge success! Teams pitched, networked with peers, and learned about what’s in store for the solar industry. At the end of the day, ten talented teams walked away with $100,000 in cash prizes and vouchers to use in the final stage of Round 1 competition. Find out who the 10 finalist teams are and track all 20 teams in the final Go! Contest. We hope to see you all at Solar Power International in September!

Success Story—Omnisole

June 5, 2019, 3:03 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Team Omnisole from Worcester, MA, is working closely with a variety of American-Made Network members including national laboratories like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, business incubators like Elemental Excelerator and Greentown Labs, and manufacturing gurus like Red Blue Collective. The team has been developing and testing prototypes of their no-penetration solar panel racking system for steeply graded rooftops of up to 50 degrees.

Learn more about the team and their no-penetration solar panel racking system, and register to attend Set! Demo Day in Boston on June 6 to see Team Omnisole compete. Good luck!

Success Story—IEC

May 31, 2019, 9 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Team IEC from Lowell, MA, is receiving mentorship from Greentown Labs as they create a road map for their Quick Lift Solar PV system to be made available to the residential market. The team is also working closely with American-Made Network members North Shore Innoventures and Tucker Engineering. Both Connectors have helped IEC build and test their proof-of-concept for their next-generation racking hardware, which the team hopes will bolster domestic manufacturing.

Learn more about the team and their quick lift PV system, and register to attend Set! Demo Day in Boston on June 6 to see Team IEC compete. Good luck!

Forum 86
Community 1K