American-Made Challenges

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Solar Prize Round 5 Software Track

Solar Prize Round 5 Software Track offers $1.6 million in cash prizes over three contests.
stage:
Solar Prize R5 Informational Webinar
prize:
$1,600,000
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.

Software 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 Software Track offers $1.6 million in cash prizes over three progressive contests to competitors who are accelerating the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative solar software solutions that increase the competitiveness of the U.S. solar industry.

Why a Software 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 communications, computation, or information technology that allows industry to rethink how today’s solar energy problems are solved, the Software Track is for you.

A Focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Software Track also offers participants the option to compete for a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Trophy, which offers additional prizes for technologies that consider and incorporate environmental justice principles. This optional element asks competitors to develop solutions that enable underserved communities to overcome systemic barriers to solar deployment, with an additional $300,000 in cash prizes available to those who successfully complete this challenge. 

Learn more about the JEDI Trophy in the official Software Track 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 Software Track offers $1.6 million in cash prizes, plus additional support vouchers, the JEDI Trophy, 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 3

Challenge Updates

Watch the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar Recording

July 14, 2021, 7:11 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

If you missed the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar, you can now stream the recording or view the presentation slides.

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. 


Don’t Forget—Join the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar Tomorrow

July 12, 2021, 10:12 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Tomorrow, July 13, is the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar. Tune in at 3 p.m. ET to learn about how you can compete in the Software Track. 

During this webinar, the prize administrators will cover everything you need to know to confidently submit your innovation to Round 5, including: 

  • How Round 5’s two-track structure will work
  • Details and milestones on the Hardware and Software Tracks
  • Timeline of events
  • Submission requirements
  • How to find submission support.

There will also be a question-and-answer session to address all remaining questions you may have. If you’re thinking about participating in the Solar Prize Round 5 or just want to learn more about the prize, you won’t want to miss this webinar. Register now for tomorrow’s informational webinar!


Join the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar to Learn How to Compete

June 30, 2021, 7:30 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Learn about competing in the Solar Prize Round 5 Software Track at the informational webinar on Tuesday, July 13, at 3 p.m. ET. 

During this webinar, the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory prize administrators will discuss how Round 5’s two-track structure will work, including milestones, prize amounts, and requirements for both the Hardware and Software Tracks. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the competition, you won’t want to miss this webinar. Join on July 13 to ask questions ahead of the Oct. 5 submission deadline. Register here for the informational webinar!


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