Solar Prize Round 5
The American-Made Solar Prize is a prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar innovation through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country.
Rounds 1 through 4 of the Solar Prize focused on solar manufacturing and hardware components. The Solar Prize Round 5 is structured with two tracks that focus separately on hardware and software components to allow more entrepreneurs to compete in the solar innovation space.
The fifth round of the Solar Prize is designed to spur more solar innovation than ever before by splitting participants into two separate technology-focused tracks. The Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes over three progressive contests to competitors who are developing physical solar innovations that energize U.S. manufacturing.
Why a Hardware Track?
The Solar Prize has always placed an emphasis on manufacturing solar innovation in the United States. After four successful rounds focusing primarily on tangible technologies, the prize administrators decided to split Round 5 into two tracks—the Hardware Track and the Software Track. Both follow the same prize structure but allow competitors to stay in different lanes to bring both hardware and software products closer to market.
If your solar innovation focuses on a physical component, manufacturing process, or producible product, the Hardware Track is for you. Learn more by viewing the official rules.
The Solar Prize Contests
The Solar Prize encourages the rapid development of innovative solar energy solutions capable of addressing the tough challenges facing the solar industry. Solar Prize competitors participate in three contests—the Ready! Set! and Go! Contests to transform their ideas into concepts and then early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing.
The Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes, plus additional support vouchers and connections to national laboratories and industry resources.
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 contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at.
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.
Yes, however, the intent of the voucher funding is to encourage the development of new and productive relationships. If you win a Set! or a Go! Prize then you will not be able to use your voucher funding at your current organization. i.e. National lab researchers would need to utilize their voucher at a Lab that is not where they are, or recently (4 months or less) were, employed.
No, if you are a contest winner you are receiving the prize for meeting or exceeding the contest goals.
Yes, the intent of voucher funding is to encourage the development of new and productive relationships.
It is up to the Competitor to identify a suitable partner to pilot test for their proposed solution. Judges will then assess the quality and feasibility of what is submitted.
No, connectors are an optional resource.
The Ready! Contest Submission Template is under the resources tab.
But, to save you the trouble of navigating there, here is another direct link:
Ready! Contest Submission Template
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 Solar Prize competitors.
Connectors are the core component of the American-Made Network and are organizations that seek to support the efforts of competitors in the Solar Prize. Use this link to explore the Network to find potential partners and develop relationships.
Power Connector organizations are a core group of Connectors that will work alongside NREL to implement parts of the program and secure additional resources and partners.
Discover who they are and how they will help innovators succeed.
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.
Tags and labels are a requirement in the submission form. A series of checkbox options will present options for properly tagging or labeling your entry.
There are 3 primary keyword tags: Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), Grid Integration & Modeling, and Photovoltaics (PV).
Each of the primary keyword tags have a subset of tags related to that topic. These options will be presented during the submission process in the submission form.
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.
Make your own public-facing one-slide submission summary that contains technically specific details but can be understood by most people. There is no template so feel free to present the information as you see fit. Please make any text readable in a standard printout and conference room projection.
The summary slide must be uploaded as a PDF document. Please be sure that you export or save your slide as a PDF prior to uploading.
Yes! There are no restrictions for competitors who submitted in Round 1 thru 4, your great idea is still eligible for Round 5.