American-Made Challenges

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Solar Prize Round 4

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

Challenge Overview

Solar Prize Round 4

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.

 

Guidelines
Timeline
Updates 5

Challenge Updates

Now Playing: Catch the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar

Sept. 15, 2020, 8:43 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Did you miss the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar on Sept. 1? Don’t worry—you can watch the recording to catch up on what you missed! 

During this presentation, the Solar Prize administrators reviewed competition goals, eligibility requirements, important dates, finding support from the American-Made Network, and more. 

Check out the recording below to hear what we discussed and what you need to submit by Oct. 8. 

 


Don’t Forget—Round 4 Kick-off Webinar Tomorrow

Aug. 31, 2020, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

 

 

Have you registered for the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar yet? If not, now’s your chance!

Join the Solar Prize administrators tomorrow, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. ET for this informational presentation. During the webinar, the prize administrators will give an overview of the program, including timelines, competition rules, and working with the American-Made Network. 

The Solar Prize is a unique opportunity for innovators to earn money for their creative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the solar industry. Round 4 is open to new and past Solar Prize competitors, as well as those in industries outside of solar who have an innovative idea.

If you’re interested in learning more about competing in this exciting competition, join the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar tomorrow, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. ET! Register here


You’re Invited! Join the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar and Learn How to Compete

Aug. 25, 2020, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Have you considered competing in the Solar Prize Round 4? Do you have questions about what technologies can be submitted? Are you curious if you qualify to compete?

All these questions and more will be answered on Sept. 1, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET during the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar. 

Join the Solar Prize administrators for a presentation about competing in Round 4. You’ll have the chance to ask questions and learn more about how this prize can catapult your innovation. 

Competitors have access to a diverse and powerful support network that leverages the expertise of national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the United States. The American-Made Network helps competitors solve pressing technology challenges, forge connections, and advance potentially game-changing ideas and innovations. 

Interested in competing? Register now for the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar and tune in on Sept. 1!

 


Looking for Next Steps to Get Your Idea and Submission Going for the Solar Prize?

Aug. 24, 2020, 12:33 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

We have several opportunities for you to learn more about how to apply for the Solar Prize and network with our Connectors, who are there to help you be successful with your submission:

Networking Session – Join us on Thursday, August 27 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time for a networking session. The Round 2 Solar Prize teams will have just completed Demo Day for the final phase of the prize. Learn about their experiences and meet Connectors and other solar industry professionals. Register here for the networking event.

Solar Prize Overview Webinar – Join us on Tuesday, September 1 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time for a Kick Off webinar for Round 4. Learn about what elements are needed for your submission package and where you can get help putting your submission together. Register here for the webinar.

HeroX Forum – The HeroX forum is a great place to post your questions or meet Connectors who are available to help you with your concepts. Head over to the forum to post today.

 


Calling All Bright, Creative Innovators to Round 4 of the American-Made Solar Prize

Aug. 13, 2020, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

On July 10, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of the American-Made Solar Prize Round 4. This competition encourages innovators to come up with ideas to energize solar energy manufacturing in new and exciting ways.

 

 

Sponsored by the Energy Department and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Solar Prize brings new technologies to pre-commercial readiness in less than a year for more rapid entry into the marketplace. Round 4 is open to new and past Solar Prize competitors. 

Competitors have access to a diverse and powerful support network that leverages the expertise of national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the United States. The American-Made Network helps competitors solve pressing technology challenges, forge connections, and advance potentially game-changing ideas and innovations. 

To get things started with the fourth round of competition, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Solar Prize team will host a kick-off webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. ET. During this time, the prize administrators will give an overview of the program, including timelines, competition goals, and how to work with the Network. Administrators will also host a Q&A session. 

Are you interested in having an impact on the solar energy future? Do you have a groundbreaking idea that solves some of solar’s toughest challenges? Register for the Solar Prize Round 4 Kick-off Webinar to learn about competition and don’t forget to submit an application by Oct. 8, 2020!


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