If you can incorporate principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) into your Solar Prize innovation, you could win additional cash prizes through the JEDI Contest. This optional bonus prize rewards solutions that address barriers to solar adoption and deployment in underserved communities. Your submission could be considered for the JEDI Contest throughout Round 7, with $200,000 in additional prizes available in Ready!, Set!, and Go!.
There are numerous barriers to accelerating the growth of solar in underserved communities in the United States, including some that can be overcome with hardware and software innovations. Solar deployment in underserved communities can bring direct cost savings, public health benefits, job opportunities, and resilience when paired with energy storage technologies.
JEDI Contest competitors must show how their solution addresses solar market barriers to adoption and deployment in underserved communities and work to substantially advance their approach toward JEDI goals as they progress through the competition.
See JEDI Contest details in section 1.4 of the Solar Prize Round 7 Rules.
What’s Considered Eligible?
In order to be eligible for the JEDI Contest, your solution must clearly show how it will incorporate key equity principles in a measurable way. Examples of JEDI-focused innovations for underserved communities can include application-specific hardware designed for low-cost adoption, as well as software and business model innovations to:
- Help facilitate community access to financing
- Allocate the benefits of shared assets throughout the community
- Improve customer outreach and engagement within the community
- Streamline project development.
Although the JEDI Contest is focused on solutions benefiting underserved communities, team diversity and inclusion is important to the Solar Prize and is part of the “Team” evaluation criteria at each stage. All Solar Prize competitors are encouraged to incorporate diversity and inclusion principles into their organization’s vision, mission, policies, and processes, regardless of participation in the JEDI Contest.
In the Solar Prize Round 5, Midday Tech won the final JEDI Contest prize for their platform that connects consumers who purchase voluntary carbon offsets with rooftop solar projects in high-impact communities. Individuals interested in fighting climate change can sign up to have their money directly contribute to the installation of rooftop solar panels.
In Solar Prize Round 6, the following teams have won the Ready! and/or Set! JEDI Contests:
- Portable Solar won for developing a ground-based solar panel mounting system that can be assembled by anyone and connected by an electrician. This system is convenient for renters, rural households, and tribal areas, increasing solar adoption opportunities.
- Hawai’i Innovation won for designing an off-grid, small-scale concentrated solar-thermal power desalination system that harvests heat from the sun to produce fresh water. This modular, affordable, and efficient desalination system can deliver potable water to areas with freshwater shortages.
- Snow-Free Solar won for developing a durable strip coating that is applied to the lower edge of solar panels to help shed snow. By shedding snow from panels in a quick and low-cost way, solar plants continue to operate efficiently year-round.
- RUTE Foundation Systems won for developing a high-clearance single-axis tracker for photovoltaic systems that can be integrated into active farmland (agrivoltaics). Using raised cables to stabilize and move the panels, this technology lowers costs and uses less steel than traditional agrivoltaic racking systems.
- ReJoule won for developing a fast, new method for testing the health of decommissioned electric vehicle batteries and using these batteries to develop an integrated solution for storing solar power and dispatching it at peak hours. This allows for fast screening of used batteries and certification for use in grid scale storage of solar energy.
Don’t forget to submit your Ready! Contest application for Round 7 by Sept. 27.