Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Five Organizations Selected to Boost American-Made Solar Prize

September 19, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected five organizations to facilitate and grow the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. These organizations, known as Power Connectors, can receive $100,000 each for supporting the American-Made Solar Prize by recruiting competitors and partners, hosting demonstration days, and developing plans and programs to ensure the longevity of the program.

These organizations span the country and have a strong track record of helping innovators succeed:

  • Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Nation of Makers—Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Elemental Excelerator—Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Greentown Labs—Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Powerhouse—Oakland, California
A U.S. map showing the locations in red of the states that have Power Connector organizations.
American-Made Challenge Power Connector locations.
U.S. Department of Energy

"This competition provides a unique opportunity to reshape American solar manufacturing by creating a pipeline of relevant innovations for years to come," said SunPower Chairman and CEO Tom Werner. "Developing proven experts and strong partners will be of great benefit to help the next generation of manufacturing innovators, as they work to navigate the pivotal moments that can make or break a product."

Power Connectors will provide a variety of services to help NREL and DOE administer the Solar Prize, including recruiting individuals and teams to participate in the competition and bringing in new organizations that can support entrepreneurs. Two of these organizations will also host a national demo day featuring competitors and bring together distinguished judges and key stakeholders, such as investors, customers, or collaborators that may be positioned to help competitors move their innovations forward.

In addition, Power Connectors will help develop long-term plans to improve the Solar Prize so that it continues to help revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. Additional resources can be used to expand the ongoing cycles of the Solar Prize.

Among other factors, Power Connectors were selected for their vision, strength of networks, track record of success, and geographic diversity. Each one will bring unique capabilities and benefits to the program, helping to achieve the broader goal of growing the solar innovation ecosystem and American manufacturing.

The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has partnered with NREL to administer the American-Made Solar Prize.

Learn more about the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy here.