American Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar graphic

The American-Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) is a prize competition that recognizes community solar projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities.

Learn more about best practices in providing meaningful benefits at the upcoming webinar series!

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the 2023 Sunny Awards on April 20, 2023 and will accept applications until July 14, 2023. This second round offers up to five $10,000 Sunny Awards Grand Prizes to the top teams, up to 30 additional $2,500 Sunny Finalist Awards, and up to 15 $5,000 Meaningful Benefits/Engagement Awards to competitors who find effective ways to equitably deliver the specific, meaningful benefits of community solar identified by the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP).

How It Works

Download the Rules for the 2023 Sunny Awards | Apply to the 2023 Sunny Awards

Community solar project portfolios (including 1 to 5 individual community solar installations) or programs (state-, municipal-, territory-, tribal- or utility-run initiatives that enable, incentivize, or otherwise support the development of multiple community solar projects within a specific jurisdiction) that serve at least 50% residential customers and were energized on or after January 1, 2020, are eligible to apply for the 2023 Sunny Awards. Applicants must provide a narrative and supporting evidence verifying that the project or program provides meaningful benefits in at least two of the following meaningful benefits:

  • Low- to moderate-income (LMI) Household Access
  • Greater Households Savings
  • Resilience and Grid Benefits
  • Community Ownership
  • Equitable Workforce Development and Entrepreneurship

Project portfolios and programs may also receive recognition through the following Engagement Awards:

  • Engagement Award: Community Participation
  • Engagement Award: Inclusive Outreach

Up to 30 projects/programs that successfully demonstrate that they deliver at least two meaningful benefits to subscribers and their communities will be recognized as Sunny Award Finalists and receive cash prize of $2,500.

Finalist project portfolios and state or utility programs will be judged by a panel of external reviewers using a pre-determined and publicly available set of scoring guidance. Up to five project portfolios or state or utility programs that demonstrate significant achievement in delivering meaningful benefits across two or categories will be selected as Grand Prize Winners and will each receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Additionally, up to 15 project portfolios or state or utility programs will receive a Meaningful Benefits Award or Engagement Award and a $5,000 cash prize. This recognition will highlight the attributes and best practices that set each winning project portfolio, or state, or utility program apart.

Finalists can win either a Meaningful Benefits/Engagement Award or Grand Prize Award, but not both.

NCSP will host an informational webinar and Q&A session on the 2023 Sunny Awards on May 9 at 12 p.m. ET. Register for the webinar.  

Questions about the 2023 Sunny Awards can be emailed to


  • SETO announced the 2023 Sunny Awards on April 20, 2023.
  • An informational webinar will be held on May 9, 2023. Register for the webinar.
  • Submissions are due July 14, 2023.
  • Finalist Awards will be announced, and funding for Finalists Awards will be distributed in September 2023.
  • Grand Prize, Meaningful Benefits, and Engagement Awards will be announced, and funding will be distributed in late 2023 or early 2024.

Learn more about The Sunny Awards and the National Community Solar Partnership.