American-Made Challenges


Net Load Forecasting Prize

Develop probabilistic models that predict net load a day in advance and promote adoption of probabilistic forecasts and evaluation tools.
Net Load Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar
Site Location List

Net Load Forecasting Prize

The American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize is designed to incentivize innovators to develop probabilistic models that predict amounts of net load a day in advance of the forecast and promote the adoption of probabilistic forecasts and evaluation tools for those forecasts. This prize offers up to $600,000 in cash prizes, with three anticipated winners and three anticipated runners-up.

Raising Forecasting Awareness and Standards

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, in co-sponsorship with EPRI, is launching the Net Load Forecasting Prize to: 

  1. Increase stakeholder awareness of the state of the art in net load forecasting;
  2. Demonstrate the feasibility of fair and high-quality evaluations of probabilistic net load forecasts using a publicly available open-source platform; and
  3. Promote the use of probabilistic forecast models and an industry-common evaluation platform with transparent metrics and specifications for probabilistic net load forecasts. 

As co-sponsor of the prize, EPRI will provide historical net load data for competitors to train forecasting models and provide operational support for the forecast evaluation platform used during the evaluation phase of the prize.


Competition Structure and Prizes

Every day for four weeks (28 consecutive days), competitors submit forecast model results for at least four locations in the United States to the Solar Forecast Arbiter platform. This platform will be used to assess the models’ forecasting performance. The Solar Forecast Arbiter will compare how the forecasts perform to a benchmark forecast using a time-of-day persistence ensemble model. 

The Net Load Forecasting Prize offers up to $600,000 in cash prizes. Administrators anticipate awarding up to 6 teams—3 winners and 3 runners-up—depending on performance of the competitors. See the official rules for full details. 

 Number of Prizes AwardedPrizes
WinnersUp to 3 anticipated cash prizes

1st - $200,000

2nd - $150,000

3rd - $100,000

Runners-upUp to 3 anticipated cash prizes4th, 5th, and 6th each receive $50,000


What is “Net Load” Forecasting? 

“Net load” refers to the difference between "true load"—the total electricity demand of the loads—and the electricity generation in the distribution system from resources such as solar and other distributed generators. 

Learn more about net load forecasting in the official rules.

Who Can Compete?

Institutions, companies, and nonprofit organizations based in the United States are able to compete. In keeping with the goal of growing a community of innovators, competitors are encouraged to form diverse, multidisciplinary teams.

View the official rules for full eligibility requirements. 

Solutions that Shape the Future of Forecasting

Are you an organization looking to advance the solar forecasting industry? You belong here. Join the American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize to get started! 

Follow the Challenge by clicking "Follow" in the upper right corner of the page to Get Started!


If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the follow feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at .

The American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize is a multimillion-dollar prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar innovation through a series of contests that accelerate the entrepreneurial process from years to months. The American-Made Net Load Forecasting 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 Updates

Rules Modification Posted - Updated Contest Dates

March 22, 2023, 2:10 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

An updated version of the Net Load Forecasting Prize rules has been published, which modifies dates of contest to allow for additional time for competitors to access the data following the release of the NDA (anticipated by March 27th).

The updated contest dates are as follows:

  • Program Announced and Registration Opens: February 7, 2023
  • Net-Load Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar: February 20, 2023, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Intent to Compete HeroX Submission Package Deadline: March 27, 3 p.m. ET
  • Solar Forecast Arbiter Technical Webinar for Registered Competitors: April 17, 1:00 p.m. ET*
  • Solar Forecast Arbiter Test Week (via SFA platform): May 1, 2023, thru May 5, 2023*
  • Forecast Submission Period (via SFA platform): May 14, 2023 until June 11, 2023*
    Winners and Awards Announced: June/July 2023 (anticipated).*

* Date updated in Modification 2

Don’t forget, you can post public questions or discussion topics in the HeroX forum or email the prize team at  with questions. 

Tips on Preparing Your Submission

March 17, 2023, 7:15 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The submission deadline for the Net Load Forecasting Prize is almost here—here is a rundown of what teams need to submit by March 27. 

First up: Make sure you’re registered on the Net Load Forecasting HeroX page. If you already have an account, make sure you’re logged in. 

Click “Begin Entry,” and enter the following information (see official rules for exact submission requirements).   

  • Name of concept & short description of your idea (140-character limit) 
  • Team name & list of members 
  • Cover page, including information about your team, any existing forecasting services you provide, and partners and affiliates who assisted in the development of the model (if applicable)
  • Submission Summary Slide, containing technically specific details about the competitor’s model (i.e., modeling techniques used) that can be understood by most people. 

We encourage all participants to begin the submission process before the March 27 deadline, so should you have any questions about the application or experience any technical problems, you can post a question in the HeroX forum or email .   

Good luck!

Simple Ways to Get Answers to Your Prize Questions!

March 8, 2023, 8 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Still have questions about how, when, or why to compete in the $600,000 Net Load Forecasting Prize? Here are three simple ways to get answers! 

Watch the Webinar Recording and Review the FAQ

If you missed the informational webinar covering prize eligibility, forecasting requirements, deadlines, and award money, stream it now. Don’t forget to watch until the end, when prize administrations answer participant questions!  

We have also posted written responses to all questions asked in the webinar in an FAQ document

Post Your Question in the HeroX Forum

The forum is a helpful spot where you can see other potential applicants’ questions, along with answers from prize administrators. 

Email Us

If you still have questions, you can email the prize team directly at . We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!    

Don’t forget, the deadline to register a team is March 27 at 3 p.m. ET. The only thing you need to do to join the competition is register your team and add details about your team and experience. We highly recommend registering now so you don’t miss out on the Net Load Forecasting Prize!

Rules Update Now Live

March 2, 2023, 10:45 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

An updated version of the Net Load Forecasting Prize rules has been published, which addresses an updated data availability date, clarified non-disclosure agreement process, and further details on evaluation criteria. 

These updates are intended to answer questions we received regarding data availability and evaluation criteria impacting the winner selection. Read the rules now for full details on all the modifications. 

Don’t forget, you can post public questions or discussion topics in the HeroX forum or email the prize team at  with questions. 

Informational Webinar Recording & Slides Now Available

Feb. 22, 2023, 7 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

A recording of the recent informational webinar, covering eligibility, deadlines, forecasting requirements, and more, is now available. If you missed this valuable session, stream it now and/or view the accompanying slides to catch up on any prize details you may have missed. Don’t forget to watch until the end to hear prize administrators provide helpful answers to participant questions. 

The deadline to submit your entry to the Net Load Forecasting Prize is March 27. Institutions, companies, and nonprofit organizations interested in competing in this $600,000 prize—and working toward improving their forecasting models—should register to compete now. 

The only thing due by March 27 is completing Intent to Compete submission form via HeroX. 

Still have questions? Post questions in the public HeroX Forum to ask questions and spark discussions with HeroX community members

Site Location List