Community Power Accelerator Prize identity graphic

The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize: Accessing Capital to Deploy Equitable Community Solar is a $10 million prize designed to fast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects. The goal of this prize is to expand a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States.

The prize is part of the Community Power AcceleratorTM, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) that connects developers, investors, philanthropists, and community-based organizations to get more equitable community solar projects financed and deployed. The Accelerator provides training, technical assistance, and an online platform to support the critical connections necessary to finance and expand access to affordable community solar. 

The Community Power Accelerator Prize aims to help achieve NCSP’s goal to enable enough community solar to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in household savings by 2025, by addressing the lack of expertise, capacity, and pre-development funds for community solar developers, and accelerating a pipeline of projects with meaningful benefits.

Prize Rounds

Prize Overview 

The prize consists of three phases—Ready!, Set!, and Grow!—with up to 25 winners selected in each round. Individually, each competitor can win up to $400,000 over the course of the prize. These cash prizes will enable mission-aligned developers to expand their staff and operations and design and deploy multiple community solar projects. The projects will use replicable business models and prioritize equitable access to expand community solar and drive new capital to community solar across the country.

To be recognized by the Community Power Accelerator Prize, competitors must show notable progress in project pre-development activities. These include designing, financing, incorporating equity, and enabling access to at least two of “The Five Meaningful Benefits of Community Solar” identified by NCSP: low- to moderate-income household access, greater household savings, resilience and grid benefits, community ownership, and equitable workforce development.  

Over the course of the prize, competitors engage with the Community Power Accelerator online platform, which provides a place for competitors to shop their credit-ready projects around to verified project developers, investors, and philanthropic organizations.

Meaningful benefits are greater household savings, low- to moderate- income household access, resilience and grid benefits, community ownership, workforce development and entrepreneurship.

Additional Information 

The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize is a part of the American-Made Challenges and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.