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Solar Prize Round 8

The Solar Prize Round 8 offers more than $4.2 million in prizes to entrepreneurial teams moving innovative ideas toward commercialization.
stage:
Solar Prize Round 8 Ready! Contest Informational Webinar
prize:
$4,224,000
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Summary

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Solar Prize Round 8 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. Competitors leverage the American-Made Network, our innovation engine of more than 400 organizations, including world-class experts at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 17 national labs, clean tech accelerators, incubators, universities, facilities, and more.

Through the Solar Prize Round 8, teams have the chance to win part of more than $4.2 million in prizes to help them advance in the competition and accelerate the development of their solution toward commercialization.


JEDI Contest: Creating Space for Change

The Solar Prize Round 8 includes an optional additional challenge that focuses on advancing solar in underserved communities. Participants whose solutions advance solar in underserved communities have the chance to be considered for a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest and earn part of the $200,000 bonus cash prize!


Power Up Your Idea

For those who have a great idea but need a boost to take their innovation to the next level, the Solar Prize Round 8 offers the Power Up Contest. This contest is designed to support and advance new and diverse teams that have compelling applications but aren’t selected to advance to the Set! Contest. Up to 10 teams may be selected to split a $100,000 prize pool and participate in the Power Up Program, where they will receive tailored business support. 

This support will help them refine their technology development road map, improve their business plan, and validate their product/market fit.

The Power Up Program ends with the Power Up Pitch Competition where the Power Up teams can compete for a chance to win complimentary passes to an industry conference.


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 / Power Up Contest
    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 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 and optional JEDI Contest prize
    Up to 10 eligible finalists who submit to the Go! Contest / $90,000 support voucher each
    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.

Read the rules for full details on each contest. 

Showcasing Progress

During the competition, competitors in the Set! and Go! Contests participate in live events to discuss and pitch their innovations to a review panel. These events result in the selection of finalists and winners.

  • Set! Virtual Interview Day: The culminating event of the Set! Contest is a virtual interview day, where semifinalist teams answer questions from a panel of expert industry reviewers. 
  • Go! Demo Day: The grand finale of the Solar Prize is a live, in-person pitch event, where finalists present their innovations to a panel of expert industry reviewers, fellow competitors, and a public audience at the RE+ Conference.

Round 8 seeks hardware and software solutions alike. The prize invites anyone, individually or as a team, to transform a conceptual solution into an impactful product and business. 


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.

Join and connect with network members


Who Can Compete?

Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams legally residing or based in the United States. Competitors can be individuals of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform an idea into an impactful solution.

Sign up for updates by “following” the prize at the top of this page. 


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 follow feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at .

Looking for assistance with your submission? Contact one of our Power Connectors! 

All of these Power Connectors can answer questions and provide application assistance, make introductions to partners and teammates, and more. For information on the role of the Power Connectors, please refer to the Official Rules: https://www.herox.com/solarprizeround8/resource/1868 

  • University of Arizona Center for Innovation - Amanda Buchanan:
  • ADL Ventures - Grady Haffey, , or Nicole Jacobsen,
  • IVT - Nannette Stangle-Castor,
  • VentureWell - Sarah Wharmby,

If you are looking for JEDI support, we highly encourage you reach out to our JEDI Power Connector:

  • Encolor Consulting - Rachel Dortin,

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
Updates4

Challenge Updates

Solar Prize Round 8 Informational Webinar Recording & Slides Now Available

July 10, 2024, 7:28 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

If you missed the Solar Prize Round 8 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 covered requirements for the optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest and explained the new Power Up Contest. Plus, prize admins addressed numerous questions during the Q&A portion of the webinar.

Not sure if your idea or team is eligible? Need support on your submission? Contact a Power Connector or work with a Connector! 

You can find a list of organizations that are ready to support Solar Prize competitors here. Or check out the 475+ organizations in the American-Made Network to find the exact technical or business expertise you need. 

If you have further questions about the prize, you can post a question or topic for discussion on the public HeroX forum or email Solar Prize administrators at .

Check out the informational webinar recording and slides to hear what was discussed and what you need to submit by the Sept. 26 deadline. 


Today at 2 p.m. ET: Solar Prize Round 8 Informational Webinar!

July 9, 2024, 7:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Last call to join us as we kick off Solar Prize Round 8 with an informational webinar today at 2 p.m. ET!

Reserve your spot now to join prize administrators as they discuss everything you need to know about eligibility, deadlines, the optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Prize, the Power Up Contest, and how to get started in the competition. 

There will also be a live Q&A session where you can ask your pressing questions about submissions, rules, deadlines, milestones, or any other aspect of the competition! Register here

Can’t make the webinar at this time? Check back here for a link to the recording in the coming days. You can follow the prize to receive an email notification when the recording and slides are available. 

We look forward to seeing you today at 2 p.m. ET!


Don’t Miss the Round 8 Informational Webinar on July 9!

July 2, 2024, 9:40 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Interested in learning how you submit your bright solar innovation to Round 8 of the $4.2+ million Solar Prize? Register now for the July 9 informational webinar and get all the info!

Join us to learn more about the competition, eligibility, submission requirements, rules, and more. Prize administrators will also provide info about the optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Contest, as well as the $100,000 Power Up Contest. They will also answer your pressing questions during a live Q&A session to help you prepare your submissions.

We highly encourage anyone interested in participating to register in advance and save your spot. We hope to see you on July 9 at 2 p.m. ET!


Register Now for Solar Prize Round 8 Informational Webinar

June 26, 2024, 1:40 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Round 8 of the Solar Prize is open and accepting submissions, and we are hosting an informational webinar on July 9 at 2 p.m. ET to give you all the information you need to compete!

Register today to reserve your spot at the webinar and learn about award eligibility, submission requirements, rules, and key dates for this $4.2+ million prize that accelerates creative ideas towards commercialization faster by making solar more affordable, accessible, and efficient. 

Prize administrators will also be on hand to answer your questions about any aspect of the competition. We will outline the optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Contest, as well as the $100,000 Power Up Contest that is open to teams whose submissions aren’t selected to advance past the first phase of the contest but warrant further business support.

The prize is open to all U.S.-based entrepreneurial individuals and teams interested in developing new ideas, products, and solutions that advance the solar industry.

Gather your questions, register now, and mark your calendars to join the webinar on July 9! 


Forum2
Teams150
Entries
Resources
FAQ