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The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office is funding the American-Made Challenges: Perovskite Startup Prize, a two-stage, $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the development and manufacturing of perovskite solar cells by moving world-class research out of the lab and into new U.S. companies.

Competitors who advance from the first stage to the second will receive a $200,000 cash prize. The winners of the second stage will receive $500,000 in cash—a combined total of $700,000—plus $100,000 in technical support vouchers for launching a viable solar manufacturing company with the potential to introduce marketable perovskite products in the United States.

By soliciting the talents and innovative spirit of diverse American entrepreneurs, the Perovskite Startup Prize will advance this promising technology and help increase opportunities for U.S. manufacturers.

The prize was announced on March 25, 2021. Applicants must build teams and form for-profit U.S. companies whose date of incorporation is on or after October 16, 2020. Individuals and nonprofits are not eligible to compete.


The first stage of the competition is the Countdown Contest. To enter, participants must assemble a team of strong technical and business experts and then submit plans for a viable perovskite solar business with quantifiable goals. During the contest, teams can leverage the American-Made Network—consisting of national laboratories, investors, industry experts, and more—for resources, connections, and technical support. Teams selected to advance to the next stage of the competition will receive $200,000 in cash.

The second and final stage of the competition is the Liftoff Contest. Competitors will complete the objectives in the plan evaluated during the Countdown Contest, obtain third-party validation of their perovskite solar cells and modules, and solidify the network that will help them launch their business.


Beyond Silicon
Location: Chandler, AZ
Project Summary: This team, a startup that spun out of Arizona State University, is developing a perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cell that has the potential to surpass the efficiency limit of standard silicon solar cells. Beyond Silicon’s mission is to bring to market perovskite/silicon two-terminal tandem solar cells that are more than 28% efficient in 2024.


  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; applicants will have quarterly opportunities to apply.
  • The first Countdown Contest opened on March 25, 2021, and closed June 30, 2021.
  • The second Countdown Contest opened July 21, 2021, and closed September 30, 2021.
  • The Liftoff Contest opened in October 2021.
  • The third Countdown Contest opened October 2021 and closed January 7, 2022.
  • The current cycle of the Countdown Contest opened on January 25, 2022 and the application period closes April 28, 2022.

Learn More

The Perovskite Startup Prize is part of the American-Made Challenges and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.