American-Made Challenges

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Solar Prize Round 3

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation.
stage:
Go! Demo Day
prize:
$3 million in total prizes, distributed through 3 contest stages (see rules)
Overview

Challenge Overview

Solar Prize Round 3

 

Solar Prize Contests

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!

  1. Identify an important problem you want to solve
  2. Submit a 90-second video describing your challenge and proposed solution, team, and plan
  3. Answer a short, four-question narrative and make a slide about this problem or challenge
  4. Submit a two-page technical assistance request
  5. 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 $900,000 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.

 

ContestWinnersPrizes
Ready!Up to 20  Up to $1,000,000 distributed equally among each winner with $50,000 per winner.
Set!Up to 10  $1,000,000 in total cash prizes and $750,000 in total vouchers. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $100,000 and up to $75,000 in vouchers.
Go!Up to 2$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. 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 / up to 20 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 / up to 10 winners / up to $100,000 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 / up to 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.

Please visit the How to Compete in the American-Made Solar Prize page to view the full rules for the American-Made Challenges Solar Prize.

 

 

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.

Timeline
Updates 23

Challenge Updates

Announcing the Solar Prize Round 5—More Cash Prizes, More Opportunity for Innovation

June 11, 2021, 8 a.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Yesterday, the Solar Prize Round 5 launched the fifth round of competition, this time with two tracks that focus on hardware and software components separately. With this two-track structure, Round 5’s Hardware and Software Tracks offer a combined $4.6 million in cash prizes, double the winners, and a new challenge that addresses environmental justice.

Participants across both tracks will follow the same timeline but compete for separate prize pools. 

Hardware Track: The Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes to competitors over three progressive contests. This track places an emphasis on developing physical solar innovations that energize U.S. manufacturing.

Software Track: The Software Track offers $1.6 million in cash prizes over three contests, plus an additional challenge that awards competitors who meet justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) requirements. This track accelerates the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative solar software solutions that increase the competitiveness of the U.S. solar industry.

The goal for developing two tracks in the Solar Prize Round 5 is to allow more entrepreneurs to compete in the solar innovation space. The U.S. Department of Energy recognizes the need for both hardware and software technologies in the industry. 

The prize administrators invite all Solar Prize alumni and new competitors to submit an idea to Round 5! 

Have questions about competing? Learn more about the two-track structure, milestones, and more at the Solar Prize Round 5 Informational Webinar on Tuesday, July 13, at 3 p.m. ET. Register here for the webinar

Follow the Hardware Track and Software Track on HeroX for updates. 


Find Out Who Will Advance as a Round 4 Finalist

April 8, 2021, 11 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Two weeks ago, 20 Solar Prize Round 4 semifinalist teams submitted their Set! Contest pitch videos. Today, teams participate in private Q&A sessions with a panel of expert reviewers to discuss their technologies. Tomorrow, we’ll find out which 10 teams are selected to continue to the Go! Contest as finalists. 

Whether you participated in a previous round of the Solar Prize and want to see the next cohort of innovators, or you’re interested in groundbreaking solar technology, you’re invited to join tomorrow’s finalist announcement at 2 p.m. ET to find out which 10 teams will win $100,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers. 

The Round 4 Set! Demo Day Finalist Announcement will feature guest speaker William Huston, founder and director of institutional services at Bay Street Capital Holdings. Huston will be speaking about investing in renewable energy and how innovators can make their technology attractive to venture capitalists. 

You won’t want to miss this event!

Register now and tune in tomorrow, April 9, at 2 p.m. ET for the Solar Prize Round 4 Set! Demo Day Finalist Announcement!


See the Solar Prize Round 3 Winner Journey

Jan. 8, 2021, 11:01 a.m. PST by Jackie Petre

Hear Round 3 winners Maxout Renewables and Wattch Inc. share their journey through the Solar Prize. 

On Friday, Dec. 4, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R Simmons announced Maxout Renewables and Wattch Inc. as winners of the Solar Prize Round 3.

The two winners were chosen for substantially and rapidly advancing their solutions from proof-of-concept to refined prototypes and finding partners to perform pilot tests of the prototypes. Both Maxout Renewables and Wattch had highly disruptive and impactful ideas that addressed gaps in the solar market. Additionally, they were able to quickly advance their technologies in a matter of months.

Take a look at their journey through the competition to see where they started and how they grew:

Read the full story on Maxout Renewables, Wattch Inc., and Round 3 here

Congratulations to these two teams for their success thus far—we can’t wait to see how far you go!

If you want to be the first to hear about prize updates, events, and new competitions, sign up for the American-Made Challenges Newsletter.


Congratulations, Round 3 Final Winners!

Dec. 4, 2020, 2:46 p.m. PST by Jackie Petre

Today, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy Daniel Simmons announced the two final winners of the Solar Prize Round 3: Maxout Renewables and Wattch Inc. 

These teams were chosen for their impressive innovations that addressed critical solar energy challenges and have the potential to advance the industry. Each team won $500,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in technical support vouchers. Their technologies include: 

Maxout RenewablesLivermore, CA —This team developed the Evergrid, an appliance powered by a fly-wheel that can turn a residential solar installation into a microgrid that keeps delivering power during a grid outage while the sun is shining. The Evergrid also stabilizes the home microgrid by providing power balancing capacity when appliances like refrigerators cycle on and off.

Wattch Inc.Atlanta, GA — This team developed cost-effective hardware and combined it with secure, scalable software to make a solar monitoring platform to help commercial and industrial PV plants increase operational efficiency. The platform can provide predictive maintenance schedules to decrease downtime, has a universal dashboard that lets PV fleet owners and operators observe the performance of all their systems, improve remote and automated diagnostics, and better model a plant’s lifetime energy yield. 

Congratulations to these two teams for winning the Solar Prize Round 3. We are eager to see your continued impact on solar and beyond! 


Catch the Solar Prize Round 2 Finale Today

Dec. 4, 2020, 5 a.m. PST by Jackie Petre

Twelve months. Ten teams. Three contests. Two winners. One shot. 

It all comes down to this. 

Today, we will find out who is named the Solar Prize Round 3 final winners—and Round 4 semifinalists. The announcements will happen in conjunction with the Solar Prize Demo Day and Networking Event. The networking portion of the event takes place today from 1-3 p.m. ET, with the Round 3 winner and Round 4 semifinalist announcements happening at 2 p.m. ET. 

The networking event is a great opportunity for solar innovators to connect with their fellow competitors, Solar Prize alumni, Connectors, and other industry professionals. We invite anyone interested in solar to attend this event. 

After a year of competing, two teams of Round 3 solar innovators will each earn $500,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in technical support vouchers for their ingenious idea to change the solar industry. Plus, we’ll kick off the Round 4 competition by announcing the 20 semifinalist teams who will move on to compete in the Set! Contest. This is a monumental event for the Solar Prize and the future of solar energy.

See the finale of this exciting entrepreneurial journey and the start of the next. RSVP now and join the Solar Prize Demo Day and Networking Event, including the live winner announcement today starting at 1 p.m. ET.


Forum 30
Teams 507
Semifinalists
Grand Prize Winner
Finalist
Semifinalist
Matthew Wellman's team Matthew Wellman's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Hydrenesis Hydrenesis
3 team members
Looking for members
Scott Franklin's team Scott Franklin's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Pinku Kumar's team Pinku Kumar's team
1 team member
Looking for members
KingLeo's team KingLeo's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Ayush Pandey's team Ayush Pandey's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Smart Machines Lab LLC Smart Machines Lab LLC
2 team members
Looking for members
John Hollick's team John Hollick's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Rico Meier's team Rico Meier's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Box Synergy's team Box Synergy's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Bretrand Jones's team Bretrand Jones's team
1 team member
Looking for members
asiabanpour .'s team asiabanpour .'s team
1 team member
Looking for members
Wayne Sawka's team Wayne Sawka's team
5 team members
Looking for members
Blaire Martin's team Blaire Martin's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Michael Martinez-Szewczyk's team Michael Martinez-Szewczyk's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Rise Energy Systems Rise Energy Systems
1 team member
Looking for members
Dan Hokanson's team Dan Hokanson's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Kaizhong Gao's team Kaizhong Gao's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Universal Solar Microgrids for C&I Universal Solar Microgrids for C&I
1 team member
Looking for members
Wattch Wattch
1 team member
Looking for members
Enertronics Enertronics
2 team members
Looking for members
James Rasmussen's team James Rasmussen's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Sustainable Energy Management Systems Sustainable Energy Management Systems
1 team member
Looking for members
Evelyn Fisher's team Evelyn Fisher's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Scott Brusaw's team Scott Brusaw's team
3 team members
Looking for members
Guillaume von Gastrow's team Guillaume von Gastrow's team
3 team members
Looking for members
Pickup & Go: Solar + Storage + Electrification Pickup & Go: Solar + Storage + Electrification
3 team members
Looking for members
Nathan Giblett's team Nathan Giblett's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Gary McCrea's team Gary McCrea's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Adam Koeppel's team Adam Koeppel's team
2 team members
Looking for members
Genmoji Genmoji
1 team member
Looking for members
Jennah Denney's team Jennah Denney's team
1 team member
Looking for members
Farm to Flame Energy Farm to Flame Energy
2 team members
Looking for members
Roger Angel's team Roger Angel's team
4 team members
Looking for members
Applied Novel Devices Inc. - FlexPV Team Applied Novel Devices Inc. - FlexPV Team
2 team members
Looking for members
Solar Clamp Solar Clamp
3 team members
Looking for members
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