The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds and partners with numerous solar-focused American-Made Challenges. Through these challenges, innovators have the chance to win cash prizes and vouchers for ideas that advance U.S. leadership in the energy industry. The competitions also offer cash incentives and recognition for Connectors who support the program’s mission and competitors. These challenges are administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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The American-Made Challenges is empowering change-makers to lead the clean energy revolution. To be innovators, creators, challengers. Through training, teaming, connections, mentoring, and prize challenges, we're building a clean energy future for all Americans.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

​​​​​​American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize

The American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize is a $1.4 million prize competition designed to increase the accessibility of high-quality time-series datasets for photovoltaic (PV) systems. These types of datasets can be used to build, train, and optimize models designed for PV system simulation, which can in turn provide more accurate performance estimates and better system designs.

American-Made Heliostat Prize

The American-Made Heliostat Prize is a $3 million competition designed to accelerate technology innovation through the design, development, and demonstration of key components of heliostats.

American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize

The American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize is a $600,000 prize competition designed to increase adoption of the state-of-the-art in net load forecasting by incentivizing forecast providers to demonstrate the quality and performance of their probabilistic forecasting tools to the larger forecasting industry.

American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials. Through two contests, established perovskite researchers launch a company and move toward commercialization in under a year.

American-Made Solar Desalination Prize

The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition designed to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. Each stage of the competition will have increasing prize amounts, totaling millions of dollars.

American-Made Solar Prize

The American-Made Solar Prize is a multi-million prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country.

American-Made SolarAPP+ Prize

The American-Made SolarAPP+ Prize is a $1 million competition designed to incentivize local governments to adopt the automated permitting software tool Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) and lower the cost of adoption.

American-Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar

The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) is a $200,000 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.

Community Power Accelerator Prize

The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize: Accessing Capital to Deploy Equitable Community Solar is a $10 million prize competition 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. 

Other Prizes Co-Sponsored by SETO

EnergyTech University Prize

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) in partnership with SETO, the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity in partnership with SETO, the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.

Learn about SETO’s manufacturing and competitiveness research, funding programs, and open funding opportunities.