American-Made Challenges

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Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track

The Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes to competitors over three progressive contests.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging Closed
prize:
$3,000,000

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

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.

Hardware Track

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. 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

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.

Timeline
Updates 12

Challenge Updates

Round 5 Ready! Contest Now Closed

Oct. 7, 2021, 7:35 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to the Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track’s Ready! Contest. Round 5 is now closed to submissions. We received many entries and are excited to see all the creative ideas out there! 

We hope to announce Round 5 semifinalists in December—stay tuned for the latest updates here. In the meantime, we encourage you to look for other prize opportunities, like the Solar Forecasting Prize, which is coming soon. 

Good luck!


Today: Solar Prize Round 5 Submissions Due by 5 p.m. ET!

Oct. 5, 2021, 7 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Today is the deadline to submit your innovation to the Solar Prize Round 5. Make sure your full submission is uploaded no later than 5 p.m. ET!

 As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit to the Hardware Track: 

  • 90-second video (public)
  • Cover page content
  • Narrative that answers four questions about the problem, solution, team, and plan (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional).

, Round 5 requires you to create an account in our new Network Matchmaking Tool. Make sure you review the rules carefully and use the submission template to complete your entry. Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. ET today, though we highly recommend uploading your submission as early as possible to avoid connectivity issues or upload delays. 

Don’t miss your chance to earn $50,000 in the Ready! Contest—submit your Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track submission now!


Solar Prize Round 5 Submissions Due Next Tuesday

Oct. 1, 2021, 8:05 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Don’t forget to submit your Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track innovation by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5!

With only a few days left until the Round 5 submission deadline, now is the time to finalize your submission elements and get your application uploaded to HeroX. As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit to the Hardware Track: 

  • 90-second video (public) 
  • Cover page content
  • Narrative that answers four questions about the problem, solution, team, and plan (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Technical assistance request (public) 
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional).

Make sure you review the rules carefully and use the submission template to complete your entry. Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. ET, though we highly recommend uploading your submission as early as possible to avoid connectivity issues or upload delays. 

Don’t miss your chance to earn $50,000 in the Ready! Contest—submit your Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track submission now!


Submission Requirement: Network Matchmaking Tool for TAR

Sept. 28, 2021, 10:59 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Reminder:  Round 5 requires you to create an account in our new Network Matchmaking Tool. Make sure you are signing up as an “Innovator” and provide information about what your needs are related to your innovation. You can also connect directly with our American-Made Network (our connectors) who are willing and able to help you with your submission! Once you sign-in, you will be able to complete your Technical Assistance Request (TAR) form. This is a necessary step for your submission and separate from the HeroX platform. Please make sure that you log-in early and get connected here:  Network Matchmaking Tool.


Solar Prize Round 5 Office Hours, Town Hall, and Live Event

Sept. 20, 2021, 1:47 p.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Looking for more assistance with your Solar Prize Round 5 submission? Take advantage of several Power Connector-led events this week! 

Office Hours with ADL Ventures

AMC Power Connector ADL Ventures is offering free one-on-one feedback sessions for Solar Prize competitors. At these sessions, ADL will be available to answer your questions about submission best practices, the application process, and suggestions for how to improve your submission. 

Sessions start on Sept. 21, so be sure to secure a 30-minute meeting time now! 

Solar Prize Round 5 Town Hall

Join Banks and Company in partnership with Power Connector Clean Energy Business Network in a Solar Prize 5 town hall meeting on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. ET to hear about how the Solar Prize is designed to accelerate solar innovation. Hear from prize administrators and learn how to compete for a share of the $4.6 million total prize pool! 

Learn more and register for the town hall.

Powering Forward: Building a Diverse Clean Energy Economy from the Ground Up

The eighth episode of the web series Powering Forward, hosted by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Clean Energy Business Network, explores strategies to strengthen diversity and inclusivity in the clean energy economy. During this live event on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. ET, they’ll also discuss the Solar Prize Round 5 as a case study, as it seeks to recruit a diverse pool of applicants and focuses on promoting greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in solar access. 

Learn more and register to hear the live event.

Don’t forget, submissions are due Oct. 5, so utilize these opportunities for support before it’s too late! 


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