This competition is closed to the general public, learn about out the semifinalists who are competing in the Set! Contest.
Interested in competing? There is a new round of the competition open to the public, join the challenge.
Congratulations Ready! ContestSemifinalists!
Semifinalists have been determined for the Ready! Contest. Innovators from around the country competed in the first stage of the competition, the Ready! Contest, by identifying an impactful idea or solution that addresses a critical need in the solar industry and then developing the path they will take to make their solution a reality. A panel of expert reviewers selected 20 teams from 15 states to each receive $50,000 from a pool of $1 million.
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!
Identify an important problem you want to solve (discover ideas through ideation on HeroX)
Submit a 90-second video describing your challenge and proposed solution, team, and plan
Answer a short, four-question narrative and make a slide about this problem or challenge
Submit a two-page technical assistance request
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.
20 to 40
$1,000,000 distributed equally with a range of $25,000 to $50,000 in cash per winner
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
$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.
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.
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.
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.
Solar Prize semifinalist team Solar Inventions is making progress in the Set! Contest. The Atlanta, GA-based team is working with American-Made Network members like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to advance their configurable current cell (C3) technology that improves performance on nearly all types of silicon PV cells with a negligible cost increase. Team Solar Inventions connected with PV researchers at NREL to understand the engineering, performance, and reliability capabilities of the lab, and how NREL can be an asset to the team.
Semifinalists from Round 1 of the Solar Prize are seeing major successes competing in the Set! Contest. Team SUNSPOT from Germantown, MD, is making progress on their solar-powered electric cooking system with the help of American-Made Network members. With the help of Power Connector Nation of Makers, SUNSPOT has connected with Network members like Nova Labs, Arc34, Teq Strategy, Lumisense, and Theta Composites. Doug and Paul from Team SUNSPOT toured Nova Labs in Reston, VA, with Jennyfer Peterson and Jeanne Marshall, who introduced the team to other startups in the area.
Team SolarVITA from Sioux Falls, SD, is hard at work on their off-grid solar panel building blocks, which can replace a generator to provide power in situations where electricity isn’t available. The team is partnering with a variety of solar industry specialists to fine-tune the engineering requirements of the specific microinverters needed for their concept. Engaging with electrical, mechanical, and industrial design experts has allowed SolarVITA to transform their idea from concept to prototype.