American-Made Solar Prize

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Solar Prize Framework and Support

The American-Made Solar Prize (Solar Prize) is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain solar innovations and address tough challenges facing the solar industry. The competition enables the rapid development of technology by providing resources and support to entrepreneurs as they transform ideas into concepts and then into early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing. By tapping into the nation’s unparalleled innovation ecosystem and America’s competitive spirit, this competition helps to reenergize American energy innovation and supports the growth of U.S. manufacturing.

The program was announced on January 24, 2018 and the first round was launched on June 7, 2018.

Entrepreneurial individuals and teams based in the United States will compete in a series of three progressive prize competitions—the Ready!, Set!, and Go! Contests—to develop new ideas, products, and solutions. As competitors progress through the contests, they receive more financial support and resources, accelerating the cycles of learning from months to weeks and reducing the overall time it takes to bring products to the market.

Competitors will be supported by the American-Made Network, which is comprised of national labs, incubators, investors, and seasoned industry mentors. These institutions and people, called Connectors, will provide competitors technical insight, product validation, and strategic support throughout the competition. Members of the American-Made Network can win performance payments for recruiting, mentoring, and advancing Solar Prize competitors.

This program takes a resource-multiplying approach that creates a foundation and reinforcing network effect that encourages rapid manufacturing, supports future business growth, and strengthens the critical connections needed for product commercialization.


  • The Ready! Contest opens on June 7 and closes in October. Winners will be announced in early November.
  • The Set! Contest begins in November. Submissions will be due in late January, 2019, and winners will be determined at a demo day in early February. This will mark the beginning of the final Go! Contest period. 
  • The final winners will be determined at a demo day event in early May.

Learn More

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