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American-Made Challenges

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Solar Prize Round 6

The Solar Prize Round 6 offers $4.1 million in cash prizes to competitors over three progressive contests.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Judging Closed
prize:
$4,100,000

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge Overview

Solar Prize Contests

Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together. With the American-Made Solar Prize Round 6, teams of creative individuals and entrepreneurs advance conceptual solutions toward product realities with the support of a unique and powerful network and a chance to win part of $4.1 million in prizes.

A Prize Competition Structured for Success

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 reality in months, rather than years. Competitors have the chance to win part of $4.1 million in prizes to help them advance in the competition and accelerate the development of their solution.

Creating Space for Change

Round 6 includes an optional additional challenge that focuses on advancing solar in underserved communities. Participants who choose to incorporate this initiative into their solutions have the chance to be considered for a new Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest and earn part of the $200,000 bonus cash prize!

More than $3 Million in Incentives for Innovation

The Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to solar industry needs for a total of $3 million in cash prizes and $900,000 in vouchers that can be used at national laboratories and other voucher facilities to develop, test, and validate. Each contest has a performance period when participants work to advance their solutions.

The Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests

  • Ready! Contest
    20 winners / $50,000 cash prize each and optional JEDI Contest prize
    Winners are selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in the solar industry;
  • Set! Contest
    10 winners / $100,000 cash prize each, $75,000 support voucher each, and optional JEDI Contest prize
    Competitors work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.
  • Go! Contest
    2 winners / $500,000 cash prize each, $75,000 support voucher each, and optional JEDI Contest prize
    ​Competitors 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

During the competition, competitors in the Set! and Go! Contests pitch and demonstrate proofs of concept 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! finalists and Go! winners.

Connecting You to the Innovation Engine 

The American-Made Network provides support to Solar Prize competitors throughout the competition and is comprised of national labs, incubators, investors, facilities, and seasoned industry mentors. The American-Made Network strengthens and scales the critical connections needed to grow new businesses, develop solutions, and sustain American innovation. Members of the Network provide the tools, technical insight, product validation, industry expertise, and strategic support teams need to succeed throughout the competition.

Anyone can Compete

Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams, legally residing or based in the U.S., 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.

Here's how to join the Solar Prize Round 6:

  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.
Guidelines

Challenge 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 .

The American-Made Solar Prize is a multimillion-dollar prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar innovation through a series of contests that accelerate the entrepreneurial process from years to months. 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
Updates7

Challenge Updates

Today: Solar Prize Round 6 Submissions Due by 5 p.m. ET!

Oct. 6, 2022, 7:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Today is the deadline to submit your innovation to the Solar Prize Round 6. Make sure your full submission is uploaded no later than 5 p.m. ET today!

 As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit: 

  • 90-second video (public)
  • Cover page content
  • Narrative that answers four questions about the problem, solution, team, and plan (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional).

Anyone submitting to Round 6 has the option to participate in Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest for additional cash prizes. See the rules for specific requirements around applying to the JEDI Contest. 

Make sure you review the rules carefully and use the submission template to complete your entry. Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. ET and we will not accept late submissions. We highly recommend uploading your submission as early as possible to avoid connectivity issues or upload delays. 

Don’t miss your chance to earn $50,000 in the Ready! Contest—submit your Solar Prize Round 6 submission now! Good luck!


Solar Prize Round 6 Submissions Due Next Thursday

Sept. 28, 2022, 9 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Don’t forget to submit your Solar Prize Round 6 innovation by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 6!

With only a few days left until the Round 6 submission deadline, now is the time to finalize your submission elements and get your application uploaded to HeroX. As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit: 

  • 90-second video (public)
  • Cover page content
  • Narrative that answers four questions about the problem, solution, team, and plan [including optional responses to questions for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest consideration]
    • Not to exceed 2,500 words unless responding to the JEDI Contest questions, which allows for an additional 500 words.
  • One summary PowerPoint slide (public)
  • Technical assistance request (public)
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional).

Anyone submitting to Round 6 has the option to participate in JEDI Contest for additional cash prizes. See the rules for specific requirements around applying to the JEDI Contest. 

Make sure you review the rules carefully and use the submission template to complete your entry. Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. ET and we will not accept late submissions. We highly recommend uploading your submission as early as possible to avoid connectivity issues or upload delays. 

Don’t miss your chance to earn $50,000 in the Ready! Contest—submit your Solar Prize Round 6 submission now!


Now Available: Solar Prize Round 6 Informational Webinar Recording

July 14, 2022, 9 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

If you missed the Solar Prize Round 6 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, important dates, how to find support from the American-Made Network, and more. We also addressed numerous questions during the Q&A portion of the webinar.

If you would like submission support, please check the HeroX forum for ways to get in touch with Power Connectors and stay tuned for more details on this topic.

Check out the recording below to hear what was discussed and what you need to submit by Oct. 6. 


Don’t Miss the Solar Prize Informational Webinar Today!

July 13, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Today’s the day to learn how to compete in the Solar Prize Round 6! Tune in at 2 p.m. ET today for this introductory session covering everything you need to know about how to compete in this round of the prize. Prize administrators will go over the details of the competition, then host a question-and-answer session. 

Make sure you join us live to ask your pressing questions about submissions, rules, deadlines, milestones, or any other aspect of the competition! Register here

We look forward to seeing you there! 


Join Us for a Solar Prize Round 6 Informational Webinar this Wednesday

July 11, 2022, 8:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Anyone interested in competing in Round 6 of the Solar Prize is encouraged to join us for an informational webinar on July 13 at 2 p.m. ET

Prize administrators will be on hand to go over this round’s competition structure, milestones, prize amounts, entry requirements, rules, and more. Stick around for a question-and-answer session, where they’ll be answering participants’ questions live. It’s a great way to get quick answers to all your questions!       

FYI: Round 6 is already open and accepting submissions! We encourage all U.S.-based entrepreneurial individuals and teams interested in developing new ideas, products, and solutions that advance the solar industry to apply.

Don’t miss this valuable introductory webinar this Wednesday, July 13, to ask questions and get answers ahead of the Oct. 6 submission deadline! Register here.


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