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American-Made Challenges

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Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce

Accelerating the expansion of US solar manufacturing workforce & building skills to revitalize domestic solar manufacturing supply chain.
stage:
Informational Webinar
prize:
$5,000,000
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Summary

Challenge Overview

Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce

The American-Made Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce (Upskill Prize) is a $5 million prize designed to accelerate the expansion of the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce and equip workers with the skills necessary to revitalize the domestic solar manufacturing supply chain. This prize targets various facets of the U.S. solar photovoltaics (PV) module supply chain, addressing critical workforce needs.

A Prize Competition Structured for Success

The Upskill Prize encourages the expansion of the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce by rewarding proposals that focus on high-quality employment prospects and skillsets that can be utilized for career growth. Competing teams propose comprehensive workforce training plans that are composed of either or both: 

  • New Worker Training: Develop and propose plans to train new workers with the skills they need to be successful in the solar manufacturing industry, particularly at new or expanding manufacturing facilities.
  • Incumbent Worker Training: Develop and propose plans to train incumbent workers with new skills needed to support the growth of solar manufacturing. 

The prize also requires partnerships between U.S. manufacturers and training organizations, aiming to attract new individuals to careers in solar manufacturing with job-ready training programs. It offers flexibility in the types of training that can be provided, based on the needs of the manufacturer. 

The Upskill Prize offers a total prize pool of $5 million in cash prizes. Winning teams receive up to $500,000 each for their submitted comprehensive workforce training plans. Prize administrators anticipate running several rounds of the prize until the allocated funding is awarded.

Building Workforce Diversity

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) expects that the industry will need to grow to between 500,000 and 1,500,000 workers by 2035 to decarbonize the electricity grid. DOE is committed to making these jobs accessible to workers from all backgrounds and provide competitive wages and benefits. 

The Upskill Prize asks teams to describe how diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives will be incorporated in the project. Teams are required to describe how their proposed training program will support lower-income and disadvantaged communities and individuals.


Who Can Compete?

Who Can Compete? 

Are you a private entity, non-profit, non-federal government organization, or academic institution? You could be part of the Upskill Prize. Teams competing in this prize must be led by either a U.S.-based PV manufacturer or U.S.-based training organization. 

For full eligibility requirements, please read the official rules


Important Dates

To prepare for participation in the Upskill Prize, here are the key dates and deadlines you should keep in mind:  

Please see the official timeline in HeroX for the most current dates and deadlines. All dates are subject to change, including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements. 

View the timeline and sign up for updates on the HeroX 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? Contact the Power Connector, ADL Ventures, for the Upskill Prize: 

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 The American-Made Upskill 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
Updates5

Challenge Updates

Upskill Prize Training Program Eligibility

April 9, 2024, 7:44 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The solar industry needs more manufacturing workforce opportunities. The Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce is offering up to $500,000 to U.S.-based photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and training organizations that can form a partnership to address critical workforce needs within the U.S. solar PV module supply chain.

So, who is eligible to participate? 

The Upskill Prize encourages U.S.-based PV manufacturers and U.S.-based training organizations to partner and propose workforce training plans that address new worker training and/or incumbent worker training. That means that every team should have at least one PV manufacturer and one organization skilled in training. Together, the team must develop a workforce training proposal aimed at one or both of the following: 

  • New Worker Training: Develop and propose plans to train new workers with the skills they need to be successful in the solar manufacturing industry, particularly at new or expanding manufacturing facilities. 
  • Incumbent Worker Training: Develop and propose plans to train incumbent workers with new skills needed to support the growth of solar manufacturing. 

The Upskill Prize is open to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits); nonfederal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities; and academic institutions. See the rules for full eligibility requirements. 

Eligible Technology 

Training should focus on manufacturing technologies in the solar PV module supply chain, including all upstream components, like polysilicon, ingot, wafer, cell, and module, as well as glass and other module components. Note that balance-of-systems manufacturers are not eligible for this prize.

Don’t forget, submissions are due May 21 at 5 p.m. ET. 


Upskill Prize Informational Webinar Recording Now Available

March 21, 2024, 7:31 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Did you miss the Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce (Upskill Prize) Information Webinar? We’ve got you covered! A recording of the webinar and the slides are now available. 

If you missed this valuable session, stream it now and check out the slides to catch up on any prize details you may have missed. 

Watch the webinar recording to learn more about:

  • Upskill Prize goals
  • Eligibility
  • Official prize rules
  • Submission requirements
  • And more  

Please remember, the deadline to submit your entry to the Upskill Prize is May 21. Innovators interested in competing in this $5 million prize—and making a real impact in the solar manufacturing industry—should start prepping their submissions now. You can get started by accessing the official prize rules.

Still have questions? Email  and prize administrators will respond to your questions. You can also use the public HeroX forum to ask questions and spark discussions with Upskill Prize community members. 


Upskill Prize Informational Webinar is Today – Register Now!

March 20, 2024, 5 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

It’s not too late to sign up to join our informational webinar for the American-Made Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce (Upskill Prize), today, March 20 at 1 p.m. ET. Register now to attend!

The webinar will provide an overview of the prize, submission requirements, rules, eligibility, and more. Prize Administrators will answer any questions you may have at the end of the presentation.

Follow this page to receive updates, watch the recorded webinar, and connect with the Upskill Prize community.

Register now for the Upskill Prize Informational Webinar at 1 p.m. ET!


Register Today for the Upskill Prize Informational Webinar

March 15, 2024, 6 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Do you have a plan to accelerate the expansion of the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce and equip workers with the skills necessary to revitalize the domestic solar manufacturing supply chain? 

You are encouraged to attend the informational webinar for the American-Made Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce (Upskill Prize) on March 20 at 1 p.m. ET.  The Upskill Prize offers $5 million in cash prizes to encourage the expansion of the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce by rewarding proposals that focus on high-quality employment prospects and skillsets that can be utilized for career growth.

The informational webinar will offer an overview of the Upskill Prize goals, submission requirements, rules, eligibility, and more. Prize administrators will also be in attendance to answer your questions live.  

Make sure to follow this page to receive updates and get answers to questions asked in the webinar!

Register now for the Upskill Prize Informational Webinar on March 20.


Join us March 20 for the Upskill Prize Informational Webinar

March 11, 2024, 1:49 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Join an informational webinar for the American-Made Upskill Prize for the Solar Manufacturing Workforce (Upskill Prize), happening March 20 at 1 p.m. ET. 

The Upskill Prize offers $5 million in cash prizes to encourage the expansion of the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce by rewarding proposals that focus on high-quality employment prospects and skill sets that can be utilized for career growth. Teams with comprehensive workforce plans to develop new worker training or incumbent worker training are encouraged to apply. 

During the webinar, prize administrators will discuss the timeline, goals, deliverables, and more. Plus, you’ll have a chance to ask prize administrators questions during the live Q&A session. 

Can’t make it? You’ll find the full webinar recording, as well as answers to your questions, posted on HeroX after the event—make sure you’re following this page to receive updates as soon as they’re posted! You can also post a question to the public HeroX forum to gather feedback from the community and prize administrators. 

Register now for the Upskill Prize Informational Webinar on March 20.

 


Forum16
Teams82
Entries
Resources
FAQ