menu

American-Made Challenges

 33,209

Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is designed to accelerate the growth of the domestic perovskite industry.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging
prize:
$3 million in total prizes, distributed through 2 contests (see rules)

This challenge is closed

more
Summary
Timeline
Updates53
Forum28
Teams318
Entries
Resources
FAQ
Mentor Network
Summary

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


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, 6 Countdown and 1 Liftoff awards have been made. The Countdown Contest has closed.

Below is a table with 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 ETCountdown Submission Deadline #1 
Sept. 30, 2021 5:00 PM ETCountdown Submission Deadline #2 
Jan. 7, 2022 5:00 PM ETCountdown Submission Deadline #3 Liftoff Submission Deadline #1Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1 or #2
April 28, 2022 5:00 PM ET Countdown Submission Deadline #4 Liftoff Submission Deadline #2Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, or #3
July 28, 2022 5:00 PM ETCountdown Submission Deadline #5 Liftoff Submission Deadline #3Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, or #4
November 3, 2022 5:00 PM ETCountdown Submission Deadline #6 Liftoff Submission Deadline #4Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, or #5
March 23, 2023 5:00 PM ETCountdown Submission Deadline #7 Liftoff Submission Deadline #5Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, or #6
July 20, 2023 5:00 PM ETLiftoff Submission Deadline #6Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7
October 5, 2023 5:00 PM ETLiftoff Submission Deadline #7Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7
January 11, 2024 5:00 PM ETLiftoff Submission Deadline #8Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7
April TBD, 2024 5:00 PM ETLiftoff Submission Deadline #9Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7
July TBD, 2024 5:00 PM ETLiftoff Submission Deadline #10Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7

*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
Updates53

Challenge Updates

The Final Liftoff Contest Submission Deadline - July. 11, 2024

April 29, 2024, 7:53 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize has opened the final Liftoff Contest application period. There are still prizes available in the Liftoff Contest, and the next submission deadline is July 11, 2024 (subject to change). Any eligible teams planning to submit to the July deadline must send a Letter of Intent by June 11 to . See the Official Rules for more details. 

As a reminder, the Perovskite Startup Prize consists of two consecutive contests—Countdown and Liftoff—that accelerate efforts to develop new, innovative perovskite solar companies with the potential to manufacture commercially viable products in the United States. Finalists of the Countdown Contest, who received $200,000 cash prize, are eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest, where they can receive a $500,000 cash prize, plus $100,000 in technical support vouchers, if selected. 

Previous applicants should receive feedback from the expert reviewers via email to improve submissions for the next cycle of competition. 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. Contact to start getting connected. 


Verde Technologies Announced as First Liftoff Contest Winner

Jan. 31, 2024, 8:02 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Administrator

The Perovskite Startup Prize has selected its first Liftoff Contest grand prize winner: Verde Technologies! The team was awarded a $500,000 cash prize and a $100,000 technical support voucher to continue their journey toward commercializing their concept. 

About Verde Technologies

Verde Technologies is working with a network of national labs, research groups, and industrial partners to develop a domestically manufactured lightweight and flexible perovskite solar module. Their goal is to make these panels more efficient than foreign-sourced panels and less costly to install, resulting in a more robust solar supply chain and a lower levelized cost of energy. 

The team is leveraging their ability and knowledge to rapidly translate laboratory-scale perovskite advancements to commercially relevant manufacturing processes, in part using a novel solution processing hardware called Verde Slot Coating. 

Throughout the Countdown Phase of the Perovskite Startup Prize, the Verde team used their unique expertise in coating to successfully integrate and translate third-party intellectual property to scalable processes, complete a full-scale manufacturing trial with industrial partners, demonstrate a strong market pull for their novel perovskite solar products, and raise funding from venture capital investors. 

Congratulations to Verde Technologies! Note that there is still one more Liftoff Contest award available to Perovskite Startup Prize finalists. The next quarterly submission period is now open with the anticipated submission deadline in April 2024. Reminder that if teams are planning to apply for the April deadline, they must send a letter of intent to a month in advance of the deadline. 

All teams who submitted to the January deadline should expect to receive comments from the expert reviewers in the next few weeks. 


The Next Liftoff Contest Submission Deadline - Jan. 11, 2024

Oct. 23, 2023, 1:24 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize has opened the next Liftoff Contest application period. There are still 2-3 prizes available in the Liftoff Contest, and the next submission deadline is Jan. 11, 2024 (subject to change). Any eligible teams planning to submit to the January deadline must send a Letter of Intent by Dec. 11 to . See the Official Rules for more details. 

As a reminder, the Perovskite Startup Prize consists of two consecutive contests—Countdown and Liftoff—that accelerate efforts to develop new, innovative perovskite solar companies with the potential to manufacture commercially viable products in the United States. Finalists of the Countdown Contest, who received $200,000 cash prize, are eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest, where they can receive a $500,000 cash prize, plus $100,000 in technical support vouchers if selected. 

Previous applicants should receive feedback from the expert reviewers via email to improve submissions for the next cycle of competition. 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. Contact to start getting connected. 


Two Finalists Selected in Perovskite Startup Prize

April 11, 2023, 3:30 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Two teams are moving on as finalists in the American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize, earning $200,000 and joining a group of four other finalists competing in the Liftoff Contest.

The latest finalists were announced today, April 11, by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office at the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco. No teams have been selected as Liftoff Contest winners yet.

The teams moving on as finalists are as follows: 

  • American Perovskites (San Jose, CA): This team is working with a host of players including Colorado School of Mines, TDA Research, TandemPV, and The University of Toledo. Their innovation is industrial synthesis of a novel family of polymer hole transport materials with unbeatable reliability, optical properties, and cost.
     
  • Perotech Energy (Chapel Hill, NC): This team’s innovation is developing perovskite bifacial modules using high throughput and low-cost solution process with high stability and energy yield. 

This marks the final teams moving on to the Perovskite Prize Liftoff Contest. The six Countdown Contest finalists who qualified for the Liftoff Contest include: 

  • American Perovskites
  • Beyond Silicon
  • MujiElectric LLC
  • Perotech Energy
  • SoFab Functionalized Inks
  • Verde Technologies Inc.

During the Liftoff Contest, finalists work towards demonstrating substantial progress and validation of their technology, as well as developing a diverse network of mentors and partners to support their business and technology development. They are competing for a $500,000 cash prize and $100,000 technical support voucher.

Congratulations to the two new finalists and good luck in the Liftoff Contest!


Countdown Contest Entries Due Today, March 23

March 23, 2023, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Today, Thursday, March 23, at 5 p.m. ET, is the deadline to enter the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest. This is the last time the competition will be open to new competitors! Be sure to get your submission in early to avoid any technical difficulties.

As a reminder, 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 highly recommend submitting before the 5 p.m. ET deadline to avoid connectivity or upload issues. We will not accept late submissions. 

We look forward to seeing your entries! 


Forum28
Teams318
Entries
Resources
FAQ
Mentor Network