Washington D.C. — Today, at a live, virtual event, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Assistant Secretary Daniel R Simmons announced the grand prize winners of the second round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to increase U.S. solar manufacturing competitiveness. The two winning teams will each receive $500,000.
“The American-Made Solar Prize was created to help bring solar technology to market faster by bridging the gap between the laboratory and commercialization,” said Assistant Secretary Simmons. “In less than a year, these two winning teams developed prototypes that are ready for industry testing, showing that the competition is driving innovation and creating new opportunities for American entrepreneurs.”
In addition to the cash prize, both teams received $75,000 in vouchers redeemable at the National Labs and other facilities in the American-Made Network. This network comprises select technology incubators, accelerators, investors, and industry resources that support the competitors’ efforts to raise private funding and provide technical support.
The Round 2 winners are:
* Resilient Power Systems (Georgetown, TX) – This team is developing a hybrid inverter that enables interconnection between solar, storage, and other energy resources, using a novel technology platform. Their power router enables direct connection of these resources to the medium-voltage distribution grid, integrating transformers and inverters into a single unit.
* SunFlex Solar (Tempe, AZ) – This team is replacing high-cost copper backsheets on standard back-contacted silicon solar cells with lower-cost aluminum. They will use a high-speed laser to weld the aluminum backsheet to the silicon wafer.
The American-Made Solar Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is funded by EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. The Round 1 winners were announced in September 2019. Round 3 is underway, and winners will be announced in December 2020. Round 4 launched in July and is seeking new competitors who have identified a critical challenge related to solar manufacturing. Entrepreneurial students, researchers, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations based in the United States are encouraged to submit their ideas by October 8, 2020.