American Made Solar Prize graphic.

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $5 million competition designed to support U.S. solar manufacturing and address challenges to rapid, equitable solar energy deployment by incentivizing hardware and software development. Competitors may be entrepreneurial students, professors, small-business owners, company staffers, national laboratory researchers, or anyone else based in the United States with a potentially marketable solar technology solution. This challenge requires competitors to make progress quickly, form private-sector partnerships, and secure investments to bring their ideas to life. 

On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched Round 5 of the American-Made Solar Prize with two separate tracks: a hardware track and a software track. In the first phase of the competition, entrepreneurial individuals and teams pitch an innovative idea that addresses a critical need in the solar industry and identify market demand for it. Those selected to advance to the second phase will build a minimum viable product for testing with potential customers. In the third and final phase, competitors will refine their software product and secure customers.  

In each phase of the competition, software track competitors have the option to enter the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest, for a chance to win up to $190,000 in additional cash prizes. The JEDI Contest recognizes solutions that may enable underserved communities to overcome systemic solar barriers and share in the societal benefits of solar deployment. Software track competitors can win up to $480,000 in cash and $50,000 in technical support vouchers.

Timeline

  • The Ready! Contest opened on June 15, 2021. Semifinalists will be announced in December 2021.
  • The Set! Contest will open in December 2021. Finalists will be announced on April 2022.
  • The Go! Contest will open in April 2022. The winners will be determined at the final demo day in September 2022.

Learn More

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