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American-Made Challenges

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Perovskite Startup Prize

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

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.

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Guidelines

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, 3 Countdown and 0 Liftoff awards have been made.

Below is a table with tentative submission deadlines each quarter and a timeline mapping out the remainder of the Countdown and Liftoff Contests*: 

DateDeadlineRequirements
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. 7, 2022 

5:00 PM ET

Countdown Submission Deadline #3

Liftoff Submission Deadline #2

Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1 or #2

April 28, 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

Timeline
Updates43

Challenge Updates

Additional Finalist Chosen in Perovskite Startup Prize

Nov. 22, 2022, 7:36 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

The second-to-last Countdown Contest in the Perovskite Startup Prize has concluded, and one more team was named a finalist and awarded $200,000! There is only one more Countdown Contest—to be completed in spring 2023—remaining in the competition.

Team MujiElectric, LLC, has been selected as a finalist for their “Holistically Designed Perovskite-Based Solar Cells.” MujiElectric is working closely with the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds and licensing technology from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Their innovation aims to produce and commercialize state-of-the-art high-efficiency perovskite solar cells. 

They will now advance to the final Liftoff Contest, where they will be asked to demonstrate substantial progress and validation of their technology, as well as a show a solid network of mentors and partners.      

Thank you to all who applied to the most recent Countdown Contest. Applicants should receive feedback from the expert reviewers via email to improve their submissions in advance of the final Countdown Contest. Please note that the final Countdown Contest is open now through spring 2023. 

Don’t miss your last chance to advance your concept with the help of the American-Made program—start preparing your Countdown Contest submission now so you’re ready for a successful entry next year!


Reminder - Tomorrow is the Next Perovskite Startup Prize Deadline!

Nov. 2, 2022, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The next deadline to submit to the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is tomorrow, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. ET. Be sure to get your submission in as early as possible 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)
  • Mentor Engagement Output - required for resubmission competitors, optional for new competitors
  • Résumés
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional)

The prize administrators highly encourage you to upload your submission as early as you can. If you experience any technical difficulties uploading your submission, please email immediately. We look forward to seeing your ideas!


Reminder! One Week Left Before the Nov. 3 Submission Deadline!

Oct. 27, 2022, noon PDT by NREL Challenge

Remember that the next deadline to submit to the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is one week out—Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. ET. 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)
  • Mentor Engagement Output - required for resubmission competitors, optional for new competitors
    • You can find a template in the Resources tab on HeroX
  • Résumés
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional)

We look forward to seeing your ideas. If you need assistance or need to connect with the Mentor Network, please reach out to ADL Ventures at madeline@adlventures.com. 

Make sure you mark your calendars so you don't miss the 5 p.m. ET deadline on Nov. 3. We highly recommend submitting before the deadline to avoid connectivity or upload issues. We will not accept late submissions. 

Good luck! 


One Month Left Until the Next Countdown Contest Deadline on Nov. 3

Oct. 3, 2022, 9 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Reminder! We are approaching the next deadline for the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest! Did you get a chance to connect with the Mentor Network? Contact for more information on the Mentors. 

There are now only two more chances to enter the competition: Nov. 3, 2022, and April 6, 2023. The current Countdown Contest is open now and accepting applications until Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. ET. The Countdown Contest will close after the April 6, 2023, deadline.

Anyone interested in competing is encouraged to apply this November, as all entrants who are not selected as finalists will receive constructive feedback that can be used for the final Countdown Contest submission deadline on April 6, 2023. 

We highly encourage you to apply to the Nov. 3 Countdown Contest submission deadline. 


Updated Rules and Only Two More Countdown Contest Opportunities

Aug. 29, 2022, 12:30 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

An updated rules document for the Perovskite Startup Prize is now available, featuring new Countdown Contest deadlines, Power Up Prize details, and other adjustments to the competition. 

The most notable update in the new rules document is the final schedule for the prize’s remaining Countdown Contests. There are now only two more chances to enter the competition: November 3rd, 2022 and April 6th, 2023. The current Countdown Contest is open now and accepting applications until Nov. 3rd. The Countdown Contest will close after the April 6th, 2023 deadline.

Anyone interested in competing is encouraged to apply this November, as all entrants who are not selected as finalists will receive constructive feedback that can be used for future submissions. Teams waiting until April of next year will not have the chance to apply again with the feedback received from their spring submission.

We highly encourage you to apply to the November 3rd, 2022 Countdown Contest submission deadline. 

The new Power Up Prize—a $40,000 cash prize designed to recognize teams with innovative concepts that still need a little refinement—will also be up for grabs during each of the Countdown Contests. 

All competitors and potential competitors are encouraged to review the latest rules changes to learn more. We look forward to two more successful Countdown Contests! 


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