American-Made Challenges


Heliostat Prize

The American-Made Heliostat Prize is a 3-contest challenge designed to accelerate technology innovation of selected heliostat components.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed



New energy technologies are reshaping the national and global energy landscape. Increased deployment of solar technology will require flexible and dispatchable generation and energy storage technologies, like concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) with thermal energy storage, to ensure reliability of the grid. Achieving these targets will depend heavily on reducing the cost of heliostats – which track the sun and reflect light, concentrating it on a receiver – to $50/m2, while improving technical performance, from an existing baseline of approximately $96-$127/m2. 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is seeking to reduce the cost of heliostats, in this prize, by specifically focusing on reducing the cost, or validating the performance of novel components. This prize is designed to accelerate heliostat component technology innovation through the design, development, demonstration, and eventual commercialization of selected heliostat components.





Please review the Official Rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing. The rules document can be downloaded by following this link or by visiting the 'Resources' tab on our HeroX page. 


Challenge Updates

Heliostat Prize Finalists Announced

May 30, 2024, 8 a.m. PDT by Carlie Ortiz

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the six finalists moving on to the final phase of Heliostat Prize. Each finalist will be awarded a cash prize of $180,000 each for their efforts in the Design Contest.

The six finalists are

Heliogen (Pasadena, CA): NO WIRE: Network Optimization and Wireless Integration for Renewable Energy

This team is building a physical network of thousands of wireless devices at a test site in Lancaster, California, to understand the viability and robustness of several wireless technologies. The study will include the testing and validation of various inexpensive, widely available wireless communication technologies.

KVA Technologies (Borrego Springs, CA): Lightweight high strength martensitic structures

This team will utilize lightweight, high-strength structures made with chromium steel containing no nickel to replace the standard steel heliostat structure. The improved design will reduce heliostat costs while increasing durability and strength.

Idealab-SwRI CSP Innovators (San Antonio, TX): Ultra Low-Cost Concrete Heliostat

This team has partnered with Southwest Research Institute to develop a heliostat constructed from precision‐cast concrete. This design is low‐profile to minimize wind loading when stowed, self-ballasting to allow for minimal installation labor and site prep, and made of the lowest-cost construction material available.

Multiscale Systems (Worcester, MA): Thermoplastic Composite Heliostat Structures

This team is developing a novel heliostat facet utilizing thermoplastic composite in a sandwich-type design. The composite panels contain high-fiber content for added strength and protective additives for weatherability.

Solar Dynamics (Broomfield, CO): DREAM: DFMA Redesign for Economical American Mfg.

This team is developing a DFMA-optimized version of their novel SunRing heliostat that merges simple high-volume component manufacturing, advanced automotive joining technologies, and containerized automated assembly cells. By eliminating welding, tight part tolerances, and on-site manual labor, this next-generation SunRing will enable lower-cost manufacturing of U.S heliostats.

Stellenergy, LLC (Albuquerque, NM): Heliopod II Mirror Facet by Stellenergy, LLC

This team is developing a novel concept heliostat facet utilizing solar film and plastic structures. This novel facet structure will reduce weight and individual facet cost.

Now in the final phase of the prize, Assess Contest, competitors will: 

  • Build prototypes or partial prototypes to be used as a test article (proof of concept) or for risk reduction
  • Run any necessary testing of the prototypes or partial prototypes to validate design
  • Refine their design as required based on the testing results.

Additionally, competitors will identify committed partners that demonstrate commercial viability and use continual customer and stakeholder feedback to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to prototype. By the end of the prize, three winning teams will be awarded a cash prize of $300,000 each. 

Congratulations to our finalists and thank you to each team who participated in the previous phase. We look forward to sharing more information about the next phase of the competition soon. 

Finalist Announcement Delayed

May 13, 2024, 8:03 a.m. PDT by Carlie Ortiz


The Heliostat Prize finalist announcement has been delayed to the end of May. We apologize for this change and appreciate your patience as we wrap up the review process. We encourage you to regularly check HeroX for any additional updates on this announcement. 

- The Heliostat Prize Administrators 

Semifinalists Announced

Nov. 16, 2023, 10:45 a.m. PST by Patrick Hayes

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced nine semifinalists for the American-Made Heliostat Prize. The semifinalists are:

  • Heliogen
  • Idealab-SwRI CSP Innovators
  • KVA Technologies
  • Low-Profile Disc Tracker Genesis
  • Mark Ayres Engineering
  • Multiscale Systems
  • Quantum Optics Applied Research
  • Solar Dynamics
  • Stellenergy

Learn more about the semifinalists and their projects here. Congratulations to the selectees and thank you to all the teams who submitted proposals in the competitive process! We look forward to sharing more information about the next phase of the competition soon.

Seminfinalist selection

Nov. 9, 2023, 7:55 a.m. PST by Patrick Hayes

Thank you for your patience as we work to finalize semifinalist selections for the American-Made Heliostat Prize. We are still working behind the scenes on final approvals and will release that information as soon as possible. 

Phase 1 Deadline is TOMORROW!!

Aug. 30, 2023, 11:17 a.m. PDT by Patrick Hayes

The submission deadline for Phase 1 of the American-Made Heliostat Prize is TOMORROW -- August 31, 2023. As a reminder, several resources are available on the HeroX page to help teams finalize their submissions, including a contest submission template, the rules document, key dates, a recording of a webinar from the Heliostat Prize team, and a forum where questions can be asked, are all available on the competition’s HeroX page. Questions can also be emailed to