American-Made Challenges

 5,744

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:
Potential 20-Minute Team Interviews
prize:
$3 million in total prizes, distributed through 2 contests (see rules)

This challenge is closed

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.

View legal agreement

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, 0 Countdown and 0 Liftoff awards have been made.

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

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. 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

Timeline
Updates 9

Challenge Updates

Reminder - Tomorrow is the next Perovskite Startup Prize deadline!

Sept. 29, 2021, 9:20 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Remember that the second deadline to submit to the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is tomorrow, September 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.


Reminder! One week left before the September 30th Submission Deadline!

Sept. 23, 2021, 9:13 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Remember that the next deadline to submit to the Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is one week out on September 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. If you need assistance, please reach out to ADL Ventures at yan@adlventures.com. 


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! 


Forum 17
Teams 108
Entries
Resources
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Solve this Challenge” button on this page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.

Innovation is about making ideas happen. The American-Made Network will accelerate and sustain solar innovation through a diverse and powerful network that includes national laboratories, energy incubators, facilities, and other valuable industry partners from across the U.S. who will engage, connect, mentor, and boost the efforts of competitors.

See who is in the network.

If you encounter an issue when attempting to submit an entry to the challenge, you may need to contact HeroX or the Prize Administrator.

You may try to connect with HeroX using the online form which appears in the bottom right corner of your browser window, it says Leave a Message.

You may also send a message to the Prize Administrator inbox at .

Please allow at least 1 business day for a response.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the Prize Administrator for the American-Made Challenges. In this capacity NREL works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to administer the challenges, maintain the website platform, assist in building the network, and pay prize money to the winning teams.

All of your files are uploaded as part of the submission form, access this by clicking the Begin Entry button.  The submission form contains an upload option for each of the required file entries.  Only PDF files will be accepted for upload.

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. 

Competitors may submit a maximum of two (2) submissions per quarterly application period for Countdown Contest. If more than two submissions are received from a single competitor or team for a quarterly application period, only the two most recent submissions will be considered.

 

If a competitor completes a submission package to the Liftoff Contest and is not selected, they are eligible to submit one more time to a future Liftoff round with that same submission package. Competitors who are not selected two times are no longer eligible to compete to win the Liftoff Contest. 

Competitors must be a for-profit business entity, such as a corporation or other organization that is formed in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control. Only for-profit companies incorporated within six (6) months prior to the announcement of this competition or any time after the announcement of the competition are eligible to compete. 

Individuals or groups of individuals are not eligible to compete. A for-profit business entity is eligible to compete only if the registered competitor is an employee or owner of that business. 

Please see the official rules for more details. 

Only business entities that won the Countdown Contest may apply to compete in the Liftoff Contest. The size and makeup of the team can change from Countdown. 

Please see the official rules for more details. 

If a competitor completes a submission package to the Liftoff Contest and is not selected, they are eligible to submit one more time to a future Liftoff round. Competitors who are not selected two times are no longer eligible to compete to win the Liftoff Contest. Please the official rules for more details. 

First, per the rules for the Countdown Contest, you will need to incorporate your company to win the prize. Read Section I.7 of the official rules for eligibility. 

Second, given the format of the prize with the cyclical open-application period, as prize administrators we can't advise teams on when they should specifically apply. Per Section II.5, "Teams that were not selected as winners in a given quarter may improve their submission package based on the feedback given and resubmit in a following quarter." This may influence your decision on when to apply.

Third, according to Section II.2, one of the goals of the Countdown Contest focuses on "Teaming: Develop a world-class, cross-functional team with credible perovskite and business development expertise that will form a new perovskite PV company." Referring to Section II.6, one of the questions for the technical narrative is "Why is your team considered “world class” with all of the necessary technical and business expertise?" The expert reviewers will score the Team question with the following statements on a scale of 1 to 6:
• The team’s drive, knowledge, and complementary skillsets provide a strong competitive edge toward developing a perovskite solar company.
• The team identified skill gaps and brought in the right people or partners to fill those gaps.
• Winning the Countdown Contest significantly increases the team’s chances of creating a viable business based on their solution.
Based on the importance and scoring of Teaming for the Countdown Contest, this could also influence your decision on when to apply. 

The national lab employee may participate in their personal capacity but must seek approval and follow all of their employer’s policies before assisting a team in this competition. 

Your team can include more than those individuals that have a stake in the company. We encourage you to detail each team member’s relationship and role. For other partners and mentors that you engage with, there is a separate section to list partners and key affiliates. 

Each quarterly submission should be written as a standalone submission. The judge and expert reviewers will not consider materials that were previously submitted by the same team when doing the current quarterly review. Competitors are advised to consider the four areas their submission should cover and their reviewer comments when crafting their next quarterly submission. Competitors should address previous reviewer comments within the flow of the written narrative. 

It is the responsibility of the competitor to assess the risk when having these engagements. They are encouraged to reach out to Power Connectors and other resources to understand what those risks are and how they can be mitigated. Competitors can consider an NDA or other documentation to ensure their proprietary technology is protected. 

Per Section I.1 of the Official Rules, “Specifically, DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is launching the American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize, a part of the American-Made Challenges, to accelerate the growth of the domestic perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials.” Additionally, in Section II.5.6, “The prize administrator screens all completed submissions for eligibility and completion and assigns subject-matter expert reviewers to independently score the content of each submission.” One of those criteria is “Viability: Developing a credible and viable perovskite technology stack as well as a viable concept for a perovskite manufacturing company.” It is also worth noting the Program Goal Requirements in Section I.8 of the Official Rules that “Only submissions relevant to the goals of this program are eligible to compete. DOE will review all submissions to ensure that the following statements are true:…. The proposed solution represents an innovation that will utilize or introduce a compelling manufacturing technology for perovskite-based photovoltaic devices to the industry.” A team must determine that their technology meets these goals, and whether they should apply for the prize. 

The focus of this program is around supporting technologies that will lead to domestic perovskite manufacturing.  Per the Program Policy Factor in Section IV.14 of the Official Rules, “Geographic diversity and potential economic impact of projects in a variety of solar markets.” You can demonstrate the relevance of your technology to other markets in your application. You can demonstrate the relevance of you innovation to the international perovskite and non-perovskite photovoltaic markets in your application. However, consideration should be given to how domestic manufacturing would benefit from accessing these international markets as well as how your innovation would be protected abroad from IP theft or leakage.  Manufacturing in America is a priority of this prize.

From Section I.3 of the Official Rules of the Perovskite Startup Prize: 
“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; the Countdown Contest has a rolling application period with quarterly submission deadlines.”

From Section IV.13 of the Official Rules of the Perovskite Startup Prize: 
“Although DOE indicates in the Countdown and Liftoff Contests that it will select up to several winners for each contest, DOE reserves the right to only select competitors that are likely to achieve the goals of the program. If, in DOE’s determination, no competitors are likely to achieve the goals of the program, DOE will select no competitors to be winners and will award no prize money.”

Because of the way the prize is structured, there will continue to be quarterly submission deadlines for the Perovskite Startup Prize until all the money has been distributed. We could award all of the Countdown Contest prizes after the next deadline on September 30th, or we could award the Countdown Contest Prizes sporadically across future quarterly deadlines.