Today, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the second round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. The Solar Prize encourages competitors to develop new solutions capable of advancing technologies for the domestic solar market. In February, the 20 semifinalists from round one were announced. The newly launched second round and the final stages of round one will run concurrently.
To compete, entrepreneurial individuals and teams will take innovative ideas and transform them into concepts and then early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing. The competition challenges competitors to make progress on a condensed timeline and seek private sector partnerships and investments, priming these solutions for market success.
To participate, competitors must identify a critical challenge related to American solar manufacturing competitiveness, create a proof of concept, and secure a partner to test a prototype. Competitors will participate in demonstration days, where they will pitch their ideas. At these national events, a panel of expert reviewers will evaluate competitors based on the quality of their solution and the progress made during the contest period.
For round two, DOE is looking for more innovators. Semifinalists from the first round of the Solar Prize were chosen from more than 160 teams across the country and featured a variety of solar solutions, including new photovoltaic cell designs that can increase efficiency and improve manufacturability, new power electronics that ease PV installation and use low-cost silicon carbide, and new hardware and module designs that can enable new applications for PV. Semifinalists will participate in a national demonstration day in May 2019 where 5-10 finalists will be selected. Winners will be announced in fall 2019. Learn more about the Solar Prize round 1 semifinalists.
Participants in the Solar Prize can be individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners, or researchers at National Laboratories, as long as they are based in the U.S. Interested competitors should read the rules and submit applications by July 16, 2019.
The American-Made Solar Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.