American-Made Challenges


Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is designed to accelerate the growth of the domestic perovskite industry.
$3 million in total prizes, distributed through 2 contests (see rules)

Challenge Overview

For information on the Prize timeline, please refer to the Guidelines tab. 

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials. Through two contests, established perovskite researchers will launch a company and move toward commercialization in under a year.

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Perovskite Startup Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering maker spaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, the Network is primed to assist entrepreneurs in bringing perovskite-focused concepts to market.

Prize Contests

The Perovskite Startup Prize consists of two consecutive contests that accelerate efforts to develop new, innovative perovskite solar companies with the potential to manufacture commercially viable products in the United States. The best-performing competitors in the Countdown Contest are awarded with cash prizes and are eligible to compete in the Lift-off Contest. This cycle of contests repeats until 2-3 final winners are selected for successfully completing the challenge.

View legal agreement


Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules for the complete submission process and instructions for participating. 

The Perovskite Startup Prize is composed of two contests: Countdown and Liftoff. Each contest has a set amount of funding allocated for winning submissions. Finalists and winners will be chosen upon merit, and contests will be open on a quarterly basis until all prize money has been won. DOE expects to select approximately six to nine companies that will receive $200,000 in cash and become eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest. It is not expected that all winners will be selected in the first open-application period. However, the Countdown Contest will close once these awards are made, which may be before the final dates indicated on the table above. The Liftoff Contest will end when the prize pool is exhausted, regardless of whether all Countdown winners have applied to enter the Liftoff Contest. 

Please note the prize administrator, at its sole discretion, may decide to hold interviews with a subset of the Countdown Contest competitors. The interviews would be held prior to the announcement of winners, typically within two weeks of the submission deadline, and would serve to help answer questions the judge may have. If you are invited for an interview, you will be contacted 48 hours in advance; participation in the interview will be a prerequisite to receiving an award. An interview invitation is not an indication of winning. 

Currently, 0 Countdown and 0 Liftoff awards have been made.

Below is a table with tentative submission deadlines each quarter*: 

Mar. 2021AnnouncementOpen for Countdown submissions

June 30, 2021 

5:00 PM ET

Countdown Submission Deadline #1 

Sept. 30, 2021 

5:00 PM ET

Countdown Submission Deadline #2

Liftoff Submission Deadline #1

Liftoff– Must have won Countdown #1

Jan. 4, 2022 

5:00 PM ET

Countdown Submission Deadline #3

Liftoff Submission Deadline #2

Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1 or #2

March 31, 2022 

5:00 PM ET

Countdown Submission Deadline #4

Liftoff Submission Deadline #3

Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, or #3

June 30, 2022 

5:00 PM ET

Liftoff Submission Deadline #4Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, or #4


*All dates subject to change.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by clicking the “follow” button at the top of this page. You can pose questions in the “Forum” tab or reach out to prize administrators by emailing

Updates 7

Challenge Updates

Join us on September 16th at 1 PM ET for ADL's webinar "What Tech Innovators Should Know About Intellectual Property Rights"

Sept. 9, 2021, 9 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

As a budding small business owner or a serial entrepreneur, one of the most valuable pieces of property your business will own is its intellectual property. Protecting your name, brand identity or design may potentially have significant effects on your success. 

Join American-Made Prize Power Connector ADL Ventures, smart grid solution startup PACE,  cellulose-based material developer InventWood, and legal experts from national law firm Babst Calland to learn how to protect your intellectual property as a startup or research team.  Register for the webinar here

Deliverables Table Available Under Resources

Sept. 7, 2021, 11:18 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

To assist teams with their submission package for Countdown, DOE has developed a deliverables table example to help provide guidance on this required component of the Countdown Contest. This deliverables table is an opportunity for competitors to show they understand the full depth and breadth of technical and business outcomes necessary to create a successful company.

The deliverables table is a list of quantifiable development goals (i.e., milestones) that will be accomplished by the time of your Liftoff submission. It will describe the process you will use and evidence you will provide (i.e., deliverables) to show the goals were accomplished. In addition, appropriate justification should be provided to explain the importance of accomplishing the goals as it relates to your company’s development and the wider industry. These goals and your ability to accomplish them are a core criterion of the Liftoff Contest assessment.

Please find the example of the Deliverables Table under the resources tab, here

Perovskite Startup Prize Opens Second Application Period for the Countdown Contest

July 21, 2021, 12:51 p.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize has opened the second Countdown Contest application period. There is still an opportunity for 6-9 companies to earn $200,000 for their perovskite-focused technology. 

Both new and previous applicants are encouraged to apply to the next Countdown Contest submission deadline, which is Sept. 30, 2021. 

Previous applicants should have received feedback from the expert reviewers via email to improve submissions for the next cycle of competition. If you have additional questions about comments, please reach out to .

In addition to the comments, we also encourage you to reach out to ADL Ventures, the Power Connector for the Perovskite Startup Prize, for additional support. The ADL Ventures team can support your submission and get you in touch with Connectors and Mentors in the American-Made Network to help launch your innovation forward. Contact  to start getting connected. 

We look forward to seeing all the perovskite technologies in the next cycle of competition! 

Reminder - 1st Submission Deadline June 30th

June 29, 2021, 9:53 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Remember that the first deadline to submit to the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is tomorrow, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Be sure to get your submission in early to avoid any technical difficulties.

Your submission must include:

  • Company Eligibility Verification
  • 120-second video (public)
  • Cover page
  • Narrative answers to four questions (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • Résumés
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional)

We look forward to seeing your ideas.

ADL Ventures is the Power Connector for the Perovskite Startup Prize!

June 8, 2021, 7:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

ADL Ventures is the Power Connector for the Perovskite Startup Prize!

Power Connectors operate under a contract with NREL to identify and support competitors in the Countdown and Liftoff Contests, so they are ineligible for all recognition awards. Power Connectors are Connectors who play a more substantial role in the competition and receive funds to expand and amplify DOE and NREL’s efforts. Power Connectors will be rewarded for efforts that: 

  • Increase the number of new, high-quality competitors
  • Expand the network of partners, resources, and tools
  • Support contests and teams with an increasingly robust and diverse American-Made Network and expand teams access to nongovernment resources and funding

ADL Ventures is building the Mentor Network available to the teams competing in the Perovskite Startup Prize. Stay tuned for the launch of the Mentor Network. If you want to reach out to ADL Ventures, contact Yan Yan at

Forum 16
Teams 93