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Crowdsourcing Renewable Energy Innovations with NREL

BY LIZ TREADWELL | 1 min read


Episode Overview

Oftentimes, you see organizations that want to innovate, but they’re stuck within this framework that they’ve been using for years and they miss the simplest suggestions for innovation. That’s why there is a need to merge the industries and allow people with different perspectives to jump in with creative ideas and bring to the table new ways of looking at any given problem.

The American-Made Challenges is a broad portfolio of prizes that is trying to create innovative ideas related to solar, water, geothermal and the whole gamut of renewables, thus giving small businesses a chance to get money more quickly than ever before.  

Today, I am joined by Debbie Brodt-Giles from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Liz Treadwell – Head of Customer Engagement at HeroX – and together we’re going to help you learn first-hand how NREL and HeroX partnered on the American-Made Challenges. We’ll also get into the specifics and dig into some of the key learnings, so tune in to our conversation to hear everything there is to know about these challenges.

Listen to this episode of Coffee with Kal, to find out more about the American-Made Challenges, who can apply to these competitions, why these prize-driven projects bring great results and support innovation, what are the upcoming challenges that we can look forward to, and many more.


In this episode, you will learn:

  • How the Solar Prize competition works. (04:29)
  • The most challenging aspects of running a challenge. (11:46)
  • A few examples of the creativity and the innovation Debbie has seen from non-traditional industries participants. (15:44)
  • Some of the benefits Debbie has seen as a result of this prize model. (30:05)
  • Why you should apply for these types of competition. (32:16)
  • Who initiates these challenges and why. (42:07)

Connect with Debbie:

Useful HeroX resources:

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