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American-Made Challenges

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Solar Photo Competition: Hit Me with Your Sun Shot

A photo competition bringing attention to solar energy’s importance to the clean energy transition.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging
prize:
$17,000

This challenge is closed

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Summary
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Updates5
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Teams228
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Summary

Challenge Overview

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is in search of the best photos of solar energy with the American-Made Solar Photo Competition: Hit Me with Your Sun Shot. Solar energy plays an important role in powering the country’s future and achieving a zero-carbon energy supply. This photo competition brings attention to and documents solar energy’s importance in the clean energy transition. Winners of the competition can earn up to $2,500 for a photo in one of the eight categories.


Photo Categories and Prizes to Win

The Solar Photo Competition is seeking photos in the following categories:

  • Solar and Weather – Capturing the interplay between solar technologies and various weather conditions.
  • Solar Workforce and Installation – Showcasing members of the solar workforce and individuals and teams behind solar installations.
  • Concentrating Solar-thermal Power (CSP) – Showing CSP systems, their mechanisms, and the innovations of this solar sector. 
  • Research Processes, Solar Technologies in Detail, and Manufacturing – Highlighting the research, development, and manufacturing processes behind cutting-edge solar technologies. 
  • Utility-Scale, Commercial Solar, and Grid Integration – Showcasing large-scale solar installations, including those visibly integrated into utility grids.
  • Community Solar/Multifamily Housing – Capturing the role solar plays in community sustainability through shared solar initiatives and solar-integrated multifamily housing.
  • Residential Solar – Capturing solar installations of residential properties.
  • Agriculture and Solar, Solar in Nature, Solar and Wildlife – Showcasing the coexistence of agriculture and solar power and/or how solar projects interact with local wildlife.

All photos must be submitted as zip files and use this file naming convention:
PhotoTitle_LastName_CategoryAbbreviation

Please use the abbreviated category names outlined in the Resources tab


Submission Guidelines

Submissions will be judged based on emotional appeal and impact, composition, content, technical quality, and originality. Each category will have two awards: one winner and one runner-up. There will also be two overall grand prize winners and SETO will recognize up to 200 honorable mentions. The following amounts will be awarded to each winner:

  • Grand Prize: $2,500
  • Category Winners: $1,000
  • Category Runners-Up: $500

All professional and amateur photographers are encouraged to submit up to 10 total photos across all eight categories. Photos must be taken within the United States or U.S. territories and submitted through the HeroX website

All photos must be submitted through the HeroX website as zip files using this file naming convention:

Title of Photo_Last Name_Category Abbreviation 

(Example: PVandWildflowers_Smith_Nature)

For zip files too large for the HeroX platform, photographers can upload submissions using the external upload site, Box. If uploading images through Box, please complete all required fields in the HeroX application and indicate “Upload Images on Box” before submitting. For more about submission requirements, please email .

Read the official rules document for more details. 


Important Dates

The submission deadline is May 23 at 5 p.m. ET. Please see the official timeline in HeroX for the most current dates and deadlines. All dates are subject to change, including deadlines and announcements. 

View the timeline and sign up for updates on the HeroX page.


Ready to Get Started?

Are you ready to share your creativity while bringing attention to solar’s role in the clean energy transition? Join the challenge by following the Solar Photo Competition on HeroX, the official prize platform. Then, prepare to enter your photo(s) by May 23. 

Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

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 .

Timeline
Updates5

Challenge Updates

Solar Photo Competition Now Closed for Submissions

May 24, 2024, 8:45 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Thank you to all who applied to the Solar Photo Competition: Hit Me with Your Sun Shot! The competition is now closed to submissions. Next, the judges will closely review all photo entries and select winning photos. We anticipate announcing winners and runners-up in late June. 

Stay tuned for an announcement this summer!


Submissions Due THIS Thursday

May 21, 2024, 9:20 a.m. PDT by Carlie Ortiz

All submissions for the Solar Photo Competition are due by this Thursday, May 23, by 5 p.m. ET. The prize administrators highly recommend submitting all application materials before the 5 p.m. cutoff to avoid any potential delays or technical difficulties. 
As a reminder, if your files are too large to submit through HeroX, you’ll need to

  1. Complete the Solar Photo Competition submission form on HeroX and indicate “Upload Images on Box” in the application before submitting (this will let our team know you’ve completed all the necessary steps to apply for the prize, but your photos will not be uploaded through HeroX). 
  2. Email by 5 p.m. ET on May 23 to request a link to the private Box submission folder.
  3. Upload your photos as a zip file to Box using the required naming convention: PhotoTitle_LastName_CategoryAbbreviation. You have until 11:59 p.m. ET on May 23 to upload your zip file to Box.

Resource Recap

  • Questions about the prize can be posted in the public Forum tab where a prize administrator and the HeroX community can respond. 
  • A recording of the Solar Photo Competition informational webinar (including slides) is available in the Resources tab.
  • All submission details can be found in the Official Rules document. Please read the rules in their entirety before uploading your submission. 

We can’t wait to see your sun shots! 


Help Your Pictures SHINE!

May 15, 2024, 12:15 p.m. PDT by Carlie Ortiz

Have you submitted your photos for the Solar Photo Competition? Submissions are due next Thursday, May 23, by 5 p.m. ET. As a reminder, the judges will score your photos based on four criteria: 

  1. Emotional/Appeal Impact
  2. Composition/Content
  3. Technical Quality
  4. Originality.

Whether you’re a novice with the camera or a seasoned professional, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind when taking your picture-perfect solar photo. 

Tip #1: Take a clear, high-resolution photo of your subject/object from multiple viewpoints. A variety of angles and perspectives will help ensure you have options to choose from.

Tips #2: Ever heard of the “rule of thirds”? This photography guideline recommends placing your subject in either the left or right third of the image to draw the viewer’s eye to the entire composition of the photo, not just the subject.   

Tip #3: Think outside the box! This competition has a range of categories from solar in weather and wildlife to manufacturing and grid integration, so our challenge to you is to capture a unique perspective on something people might see every day. 

Ready to start snapping? Before you submit your photos, don’t forget to review the submission requirements in the Official Rules. All photos must be submitted using this file naming convention: PhotoTitle_LastName_CategoryAbbreviation. Find a full list of the category abbreviations here.

Good luck! 


Submission Deadline May 23

May 2, 2024, noon PDT by Carlie Ortiz

Don’t forget, Thursday, May 23, is the deadline to submit your photos for the Solar Photo Competition. The prize administrators highly recommend submitting all materials before the 5 p.m. ET deadline to avoid any potential delays or technical difficulties.  

If you haven’t submitted your application yet, please note that the “Image” field at the top of the application is not where official submission photos should be added. Rather, this is an opportunity to upload an individual or team photo.  

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To upload solar-related photos, continue scrolling to Section 7, where you’ll find information on minimum file size and other important submission details.  

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Resource Recap 

  • Questions about the prize can be posted in the public Forum tab where a prize administrator and the HeroX community can respond.  
  • A recording of the Solar Photo Competition informational webinar (including slides) is available in the Resources tab. 
  • All submission details can be found in the Official Rules document. Please read the rules in their entirety before uploading your submission.  

All photos must be submitted using this file naming convention: PhotoTitle_LastName_CategoryAbbreviation. Find a full list of the category abbreviations here

We look forward to seeing your sun shots soon!  


Informational Webinar Recording & Other Prize Resources

March 29, 2024, 11:56 a.m. PDT by Carlie Ortiz

A recording of the Solar Photo Competition informational webinar (including slides) is now available in the HeroX Resources tab. During this webinar, prize administrators gave an overview of the prize, including important details such as: 

  • Applicant eligibility 
  • Submission requirements 
  • Scoring metrics
  • How to navigate HeroX.

This information, and more, can be found in the Official Rules document, also located in the Resources tab. We highly recommend reading the rules in their entirety before uploading your submission. 

Key Prize Reminders

  • All photos must be submitted using this file naming convention: PhotoTitle_LastName_CategoryAbbreviation. Find a full list of the category abbreviations here.
  • Questions about the prize can be posted in the public Forum tab where a prize administrator and the HeroX community can respond. 
  • Submissions are due by May 23 at 5 p.m. ET

As a reminder, for zip files too large for the HeroX platform, photographers can upload submissions using the external upload site, Box. If you plan to upload submission materials through Box, please complete all required fields in the HeroX application and indicate in the entry form that you plan to “Upload Images on Box” before submitting. To request more information about Box, please email 

We look forward to seeing your solar photos soon! 


Forum4
Teams228
Resources
FAQ