graphical identifier for the Solar Forecasting Prize

The American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize is designed to incentivize solar forecast providers to develop and potentially commercialize tools that predict how much energy solar power plants will need to generate days in advance, so grid operators can plan for and manage it.

An electric grid with large amounts of solar power requires operators to know in advance how much energy solar power plants can generate over the next several days. This knowledge is provided by solar irradiance forecasting, a process that uses weather models and data to predict solar power generation at various time scales. While utilities and other grid operators recognize solar forecasting as an important part of system operations, improving the accuracy of forecasting methods and their integration into the operation and planning processes will enable even more solar to connect to the grid.

The Solar Forecasting Prize, launching in October 2021, builds on the Solar Forecasting funding program, which developed probabilistic forecasts that enable grid operators to calculate when and how much reserve power is necessary to maintain a healthy grid. 


The Solar Forecasting Prize incentivizes forecasters to demonstrate the quality and performance of their probabilistic forecasting tools and their potential for commercialization. For 28 consecutive days, competitors will submit forecasts through the Solar Forecast Arbiter platform for predetermined locations, to be compared against a benchmark model. Competitors will also submit a commercialization plan that describes innovative approaches to accelerate the commercialization of probabilistic forecasts or their adoption by end users, such as independent system operators, integrated utilities, and other balancing authorities.

Up to five winners will receive $50,000 cash prizes, and five or more runners-up will receive $25,000 cash prizes.


  • The competition opened on October 25, 2021. 
  • An informational webinar will be held on November 8, from noon to 1 p.m. ET.
  • HeroX submission deadline and Solar Forecast Arbiter (SFA) registration deadline: December 15, 2021
  • Competitors submit forecasts in SFA: January 17 - February 13, 2022
  • Commercialization Plan submission deadline: Feb 13, 2022
  • Winner announcement: March 2022

Learn More 

The American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize is a part of the American-Made Challenges and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.