Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together. With the Solar Prize, teams of creative individuals and entrepreneurs will advance conceptual solutions toward product realities with the support of a unique and powerful network and a chance to win up to $3 million in cash prizes.
A prize competition structured for success
The Solar Prize is an opportunity for anyone interested in accelerating ideas and solutions. The American-Made Network is designed to strengthen and scale the very best ideas and teams through three progressive prize competitions, the Ready! Set! Go! Contests. This network provides the tools and expertise to help projects succeed and is comprised of an unparalleled innovation system. These resources will provide technical insight, product validation, and strategic support to teams throughout the competition.
Competing in the prize is easy!
Identify an important problem you want to solve (discover ideas through ideation on HeroX)
Submit a 90-second video describing your challenge and proposed solution, team, and plan
Answer a short, four-question narrative and make a slide about this problem or challenge
Submit a two-page technical assistance request
Update your videos and statements as you advance through the contests.
More than $3 million in incentives for innovation
The Ready! Set! Go! Contests will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to solar industry needs for a total of $3 million in cash prizes and up to $525,000 in vouchers which can be used at national laboratories and other voucher facilities to develop, test, and validate. Each stage will have a 90-day performance period when participants work to advance their solutions.
20 to 40
$1,000,000 distributed equally with a range of $25,000 to $50,000 in cash per winner
5 to 10
$1,000,000 in cash and $375,000 in vouchers distributed within a range of $100,000 to $200,000 in cash and $37,500 to $75,000 in vouchers per winner
$500,000 in cash and up to $75,000 in vouchers per winner
The Ready! Set! and Go! Contests
It all starts with a big idea. You can enter the Ready! Contest with an idea from the ideation platform or an idea that’s all your own. Once a completed package has been submitted on HeroX, your video will be made public and you’ll become part of the Ready! Contest.
Ready! Contest 90 days / 20-40 winners / up to $50,000 cash Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in the solar industry;
Set! Contest 90 days / 5-10 winners / up to $200,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.
Go! Contest 90 days / 2 winners / $500,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.
Demo Days Competitors in the Set! and Go! Contests pitch and demonstrate proof of concepts and prototypes to a judging panel and audience at two, live, in-person Demo Day events. Demo days are opportunities to meet competitors, connectors, power connectors, and other members of the American-Made Network. Demo Days culminate in the announcement of Set! and Go! prize winners.
Anyone can compete
Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams, legally residing or based in the U.S., can compete including members of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform ideas into impactful realities.
Ready!, Set!, Go! Guidelines
The Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to meet solar industry needs. Each stage will include a contest period when participants will work to rapidly advance their solutions. DOE invites anyone, individually or as a team, to compete to transform a conceptual solution into product reality.
The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing 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. The American-Made Solar Prize is directed and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Learn more.
We’re in the final hours to submit your idea for Round 2 of the Solar Prize! Full submissions are due at 2:00 p.m. ET, however, wehighly recommend getting all materials submitted before then—don’t get bogged down by a network failure or long upload time and miss the deadline!
As a reminder, here’s what a full submission looks like:
1. Project details (name, team members, key partners, if any)
2. 90-second video pitch
3. Four question written narrative (problem, solution, team, plan)
4. Technical assistance request
5. Submission summary slide
6. Letters of commitment or support (optional)
This is your chance to compete for a piece of $3M in the Solar Prize. Upload your submissions now!
We asked Round 1 teams what advice they had for anyone thinking about competing in Round 2 of the Solar Prize. Finalists Ethan and Joe from Team Omnisole had some advice about trusting yourself you won’t want to ignore. Here’s what they had to say.
Thinking about submitting your idea for Round 2 of the Solar Prize? Now’s the time to do it! Register your team now and submit your idea by July 16. Trust us—you’ll be glad you did.
As a reminder, your full submissions are due tomorrow - Tuesday, July 16, at 2:00 p.m. ET. If you’ve registered as a competitor or team, or have started your submission, please be aware that you still need to uploadallmaterials in their entiretyby this time. We highly recommend that you upload submissions a day in advance in case something takes a while to upload or you experience a network failure—don’t miss out because of a bad internet connection!
If you need help or have a question related to your submission, please contact one of the Power Connectors by going to the American-Made Network page and filtering the members by type.
We asked Round 1 teams what advice they had for anyone thinking about competing in Round 2 of the Solar Prize. Charmaine from finalist team Solar Guardian says it’s all about hard work and putting in the hours.
If you think you have what it takes to compete in Round 2 of the Solar Prize for the chance to win up to $50,000, now’s your chance. Register your team now and submit your idea by July 16.
We asked Round 1 teams what advice they had for anyone thinking about competing in Round 2 of the Solar Prize. “Just throw your hat in the ring and see what happens!” said David from finalist team Solar Seed. David and team took a chance and now they’re finalists competing for $500,000!
If you think you have an idea that could change the future of solar, we want to hear it! Toss your hat in the ring and submit by July 16 for the chance to win up to $50,000 in Round 2 of the Solar Prize.