American-Made Solar Prize

On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched Round 6 of the American-Made Solar Prize, a $4 million competition designed to spur innovations in U.S. solar hardware and software technologies and address challenges to rapid, equitable solar energy deployment. In Round 6, the previously separate hardware and software tracks will be merged into one track for all competitors. This challenge requires competitors to make progress quickly, form private-sector partnerships, and engage customers to bring their ideas to life.

Interested participants can sign up and read the official competition rules on the HeroX platform. Entrepreneurial students, professors, small business owners, company staffers, researchers at national laboratories, or anyone else based in the United States with a potentially marketable solar technology solution are eligible to compete. Competitors have access to the American-Made Network to find partners and testing facilities to accelerate their progress.

The competition contains an optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest that runs parallel with every phase of the competition. Competitors have three opportunities to vie for additional cash prizes if their solution addresses solar market barriers faced by underserved communities and work to substantially advance their approach towards JEDI goals.

In the first phase of the Solar Prize, 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 design a hardware proof of concept or a minimum viable software product. In the third and final phase, selected individuals and teams will develop early-stage hardware prototypes for industry testing or customer-validated software products. Individually, each competitor can win up $700,000 in cash and $150,000 in technical support vouchers over the course of the three phases (not inclusive of the JEDI Contest prize money).

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