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.
Find out how you can protect your startup’s intellectual property (IP) at this webinar on Sept. 16, brought to you by Power Connector ADL Ventures. Register here.
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Tune in to learn how to protect your IP as a startup or research team, especially as you get ready to compete in the Solar Prize Round 5. Register for the webinar here.
The hardest part of innovating can often be finding the right tools and expertise to move your technology to the next stage. That’s why the American-Made Challenges developed the Network Matching Tool, which fast-tracks the process by connecting innovators with companies that provide the specific knowledge, skills, and equipment needed to successfully compete in the prizes.
This online tool allows you to specify your technology needs and get matched with organizations that have the expertise you need exactly when you need it.
The Network Matching Tool is available to Solar Prize Round 5 competitors across all technology areas. Here’s how you can get started:
We have several opportunities for you to learn more about how to apply for the Solar Prize and connect with Connectors, who are there to help you be successful with your submission:
Network Matching Tool – The Network Matching Tool was created to quickly connect you with the supporters and resources you need to take your Solar Prize Round 5 idea to the next level. No matter how far along your hardware technology is, you can find the exact connections you need through the Network Matching Tool. All you need to do to get started is build your profile and let us know what you need help with. Start finding matches today with the Network Matching Tool.
Solar Prize Informational Webinar – If you missed the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar, catch up on everything you missed by watching the webinar recording. Learn about what elements are needed for your submission package and where you can get help putting your submission together. Watch the recording here.
HeroX Forum – The HeroX forum is a great place to post your questions, find answers to other questions, and meet other experts who could join your team. There are already a handful of questions and answers posted on the Hardware Track forum about competing in Round 5. Head over to the forum to post today.
Sign up on HeroX—once you know which track is right for you, make sure you create a HeroX account and follow the Hardware and/or Software Track to receive updates and prepare your submission.
Utilize the Network Matching Tool—find resources who can support your innovation by providing submission reviews and connecting you to the tools you need to advance. Hurry—make connections now before Connectors are fully booked!
Compile your submission—make sure you have all your submission elements, including a cover page, answers to four questions, a 90-second video, technical assistance request, and PowerPoint summary slide.
Upload your submission by Oct. 5—get your submission in as soon as possible!
Don’t forget to review the rules for further details on each step. Submissions are due Oct. 5, though we highly recommend getting your application in sooner.
We can’t wait to see your creative solar hardware solutions when you apply to Round 5.
During this presentation, the Solar Prize administrators reviewed competition goals, eligibility requirements for both the Hardware and Software Tracks, important dates, how to find support from the American-Made Network, and more.
Check out the recording below to hear what was discussed and what you need to submit by Oct. 5.