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.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Enter
prize:
$1,600,000

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.

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
Updates22

Challenge Updates

Congratulations to the 10 Software Track Finalist Teams!

April 22, 2022, 11:56 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Congratulations to the finalists moving on to the Go! Contest of the Solar Prize Round 5, announced today at the American-Made Earth Day Celebration. Ten Software Track teams were each awarded $60,000 in cash prizes, and three of those teams received an additional $33,333 for their submissions to the optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest, which focuses on advancing solar adoption in underserved communities.   

Semifinalist teams showcased their concepts during the virtual Round 5 Set! Demo Day events, after demonstrating their software’s minimum viable products. A panel of industry experts reviewed the teams’ pitch videos and conducted a 10-minute question-and-answer session with each team to discuss their innovations in more detail before selecting the finalists.

Now, after months of diligent work from the teams and careful deliberation by the judges, the finalist teams have been announced:

  • Better Solar (Orlando, FL): This team is building machine vision software to process electroluminescence (EL) imagery and automatically identify PV defects with application to both PV module manufacturing and PV plant maintenance.
  • CleanFi (Los Angeles, CA): This team is developing a platform that seeks to automate solar project financing for the small-and-midscale commercial sector, including facilitating the use of commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE).
  • illu (Sunnyvale, CA): This team is building a mobile and desktop tool for operations and maintenance workflow management that will assist field technicians and simplify distributed solar maintenance.
  • KiloNewton (Albuquerque, NM): This team is developing geospatial software to optimally site utility-scale solar and avoid challenging terrain, helping to avoid costly discoveries that can come in later stages of project development.
  • Midday Tech (San Francisco, CA): This team is building a platform to connect consumers who purchase voluntary carbon offsets with high-impact rooftop solar projects in underserved communities. (JEDI Contest winner)
  • Nimbus AI (Honolulu, HI): This team is creating day-ahead probabilistic solar irradiance forecasts leveraging recent advances in satellite imagery and advanced machine learning algorithms.
  • Sandbox Solar (Fort Collins, CO): This team is building software to help design agrivoltaic projects, with a focus on simulating the microclimates under solar modules and predicting crop growth yields.
  • SolarGrade (Carlsbad, CA): This team is building a workflow management platform to facilitate inspection, operations, and maintenance of PV systems leveraging field technician inputs and data analytics.
  • Solar Stewards Marketplace (Atlanta, GA): This team is creating a marketplace for a new type of renewable energy credit (REC), a social REC, that allows corporate purchasers to buy RECs produced in underserved communities, aligning better with their corporate missions. (JEDI Contest winner)
  • The Solar Equity Team (Boston, MA): This team is developing a platform that connects larger installations that have surplus solar generation with nonprofits and underserved consumers to enable an easy peer-to-peer credit sharing transaction. (JEDI Contest winner)

The finalists will present their technologies one last time at Go! Demo Day in September 2022. Ultimately, only two teams will win the final prize, each receiving an additional $200,000 cash prize and $50,000 support voucher to help them bring their technology to market.

Congratulations to the finalist teams and all of the Solar Prize Round 5 competitors!


Tomorrow: Hear the Solar Prize Set! Contest Finalist Announcement at the American-Made Earth Day Celebration

April 21, 2022, 9:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Tomorrow—find out which teams advance in the Solar Prize Round 5 at the American-Made Earth Day Celebration!

Solar Prize Round 5 Demo Day Q&A sessions are wrapping up and finalists are being selected! Tomorrow, we’ll find out which teams win cash prizes and move on to the Go! Contest as finalists. Hear the live virtual finalist announcement tomorrow, Friday, April 22, at 12 p.m. ET during the American-Made Earth Day Celebration! 

During this event, the American-Made team, along with key energy industry players, will highlight the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in a more sustainable, inclusive, and just energy future. 

In addition to the Solar Prize Round 5 finalist announcement, this virtual event will feature guest speakers, prize announcements, education sessions, networking opportunities, and more. In addition to the finalist announcement, the celebration will also include updates from many other prizes, guest speakers, networking sessions, and more. 

Even if you aren’t competing in the Solar Prize Round 5, you’re invited to join this event to network with industry peers and attend education sessions!

Register here for the American-Made Earth Day Celebration tomorrow, April 22 to find out which Hardware and Software Track teams advance as finalists. We hope to see you there! 


Winners of Solar Prize Round 5 Demo Days to be Announced at American-Made Earth Day Celebration

April 13, 2022, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

You’re invited to the American-Made Earth Day Celebration on Friday, April 22, featuring the announcement of Solar Prize Round 5 finalists!

Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware and Software Track semifinalists are busy working on their Set! Contest presentations for next week’s Demo Day events. Teams already submitted their entries and are preparing to meet with a panel of expert reviewers in closed-door Q&A sessions. Finally, reviewers will deliberate and select finalists in each track.

The exciting finalist announcement will take place at the first-ever American-Made Earth Day Celebration on April 22 at 12 p.m. ET! Join the virtual event to hear the news, along with other prize announcements, and stick around for guest speakers, educational sessions, and networking opportunities.

Register now to secure your spot to hear the Solar Prize Round 5 finalist announcement and be part of the Earth Day Celebration! 


Solar Prize Round 5 Demo Day and Finalist Announcement Coming Up

April 7, 2022, 11:48 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Find out which teams advance as Solar Prize Round 5 finalists on Friday, April 22! 

The Solar Prize Round 5 Set! Demo Day is coming up for Hardware and Software Track semifinalists. Demo Day kicks off on Tuesday, April 19, with the Software Track semifinalists meeting with a panel of expert reviewers for a closed-door Q&A session. Then, Hardware Track semifinalists will do the same on Thursday, April 21. 

After the Q&A sessions and reviewer deliberations are complete, the finalist teams will be announced at the American-Made Earth Day Celebration on Friday, April 22, at 12 p.m. ET. During this event, the American-Made team, along with key energy industry players, will highlight the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in a more sustainable, inclusive, and just energy future. 

In addition to the Solar Prize Round 5 finalist announcement, this virtual event will feature guest speakers, prize announcements, education sessions, networking opportunities, and more. In addition to the finalist announcement, the celebration will also include updates from many other prizes, guest speakers, networking sessions, and more. 

Register here for the American-Made Earth Day Celebration on April 22 to find out which Hardware and Software Track teams advance as finalists.

 We hope to see you there! 


Join Us This Week for the Solar Prize Pitch Showcase & Virtual Networking Mixer

March 21, 2022, 11:45 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Tomorrow, March 22, is the day to tune in to the Solar Prize Round 5 Set! Software Track Pitch Showcase, part of CMU Energy Week, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute. The pitch showcase features presentations from Software Track semifinalists who will use the event to practice their pitches, share their solutions with fellow semifinalists, and receive feedback from an industry advisory panel ahead of the Set! Demo Day, where the finalists will be selected.

The general public and Hardware Track competitors are invited to attend the Software Track Pitch Showcase on March 22.

Then, tune in on Friday, March 25, to hear pitches from the Hardware Track competitors. After Hardware Track pitches conclude on Friday, join the CMU Energy Week Virtual Networking Mixer at 3:30 p.m. ET. The mixer is open to anyone looking to forge connections with top innovators, organizations, students, and entrepreneurs in the energy industry.

Register for the Solar Prize Set! Pitch Showcase and the Virtual Networking Mixer. We hope to see you there!


Forum36
Teams331
Winners
Set! Finalists
Ready! Semifinalist
Solar Waves Solar Waves
1 team member
Looking for members
Steve Green's team Steve Green's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Solar Shepherds Solar Shepherds
1 team member
Looking for members
Anna May Young's team Anna May Young's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Mitch Minarick's team Mitch Minarick's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Chris S's team Chris S's team
1 team member
Looking for members
SolarAssistant: Let Solar Speak for Itself SolarAssistant: Let Solar Speak for Itself
1 team member
Looking for members
Uplift Solar Corp. and Wythe Windows Uplift Solar Corp. and Wythe Windows
2 team members
Looking for members
Jigawatt Jigawatt
1 team member
Looking for members
Kris Brannock's team Kris Brannock's team
3 team members
Looking for members
OEO's team OEO's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Daly Energy Daly Energy
1 team member
Looking for members
The Solar Equity team The Solar Equity team
2 team members
Looking for members
Daniel Marsch's team Daniel Marsch's team
1 team member
Looking for members
EnergyNudge EnergyNudge
1 team member
Looking for members
ZyncTank ZyncTank
1 team member
Looking for members
Enerex Enerex
1 team member
Looking for members
Forward Education & Technology Forward Education & Technology
5 team members
Looking for members
Turbine Logic Turbine Logic
6 team members
Looking for members
Kenny's team Kenny's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Lattice Energy Solutions Lattice Energy Solutions
1 team member
Looking for members
Venture Connections by Tech Ranch Venture Connections by Tech Ranch
1 team member
Looking for members
Seeds Renewables Inc. Seeds Renewables Inc.
1 team member
Looking for members
Aram Andriesian's team Aram Andriesian's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Climformatics Climformatics
2 team members
Looking for members
PowerMarket PowerMarket
1 team member
Looking for members
OptimoEnergy team OptimoEnergy team
2 team members
Looking for members
Sol-Sim Sol-Sim
2 team members
Looking for members
Red Blue Collective Red Blue Collective
3 team members
Looking for members
Moon Innovations  team Moon Innovations team
1 team member
Looking for members
SolarToken SolarToken
10 team members
Looking for members
RenuLogix RenuLogix
2 team members
Looking for members
Sunbase team Sunbase team
1 team member
Looking for members
Ian Skor's team Ian Skor's team
1 team member
Looking for members
CleanFi.com, the funding marketplace CleanFi.com, the funding marketplace
1 team member
Looking for members
Sesame Solar's team Sesame Solar's team
1 team member
Looking for members
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