The Motivation

Despite unprecedented cost reductions for solar hardware over recent years, the going solar experience for most Americans is long and arduous due to inefficient processes and complex administrative obstacles. Customers may wait as long as 180 days for permitting, installation, inspection, and grid interconnection before they can flip the switch and generate electricity from a small solar system. Every one day cut from this inefficient process would translate to millions of dollars in electricity generation. The Race to 7-Day Solar competition aims to spur innovation for improving the going solar experience from permit to plug-in for all Americans.

The Goal

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar offers a total of $10 million in cash awards to the best teams that bring process certainty and reduce the permit-to-plug-in time from current durations to a swift seven days for small PV systems (≤100 kW) or seven weeks for large systems (≤1 MW).

The Prizes

SunShot will run two contests for 18 months: a small system contest targeted at small solar systems (1 - 100 kW) and large system contest targeted at large solar systems (101-1,000 kW). SunShot will award two cash grand prizes for each contest by the end of this 18-month period. The first place grand prize is $3 million and the second place grand prize is $1 million. Another set of cash prizes totaling $2 million will split among up to 20 entrants who seek in-progress prize rewards while taking steps towards achieving the goals of the small or large system contests throughout this 18-month period.

Cash awards will be granted with time periods relative to the official start of the competition:

 In-Contest PrizesGrand Prizes
Total Winners20 total winnersTwo winners of the small system contestTwo winners of the large system conest
Cash AwardsUp to $100k each

1st Place: $3 million
2nd Place: $1 million

1st Place: $3 million
2nd Place: $1 million
Award DistributionTranches of $25k, $25, $50k in months 8, 12, 14Awarded at 18-month competition endAwarded at 18-month competition end

Learn more about the SunShot Prize: Goals, Rules, Teams.