New energy technologies are reshaping the national and global energy landscape. Increased deployment of solar technology will require flexible and dispatchable generation and energy storage technologies, like concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) with thermal energy storage, to ensure reliability of the grid. Achieving these targets will depend heavily on reducing the cost of heliostats - which track the sun and reflect light, concentrating it on a receiver - to $50/m2, while improving technical performance, from an existing baseline of approximately $96-$127/m2. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is seeking to reduce the cost of heliostats, in this prize, by specifically focusing on reducing the cost, or validating the performance of novel components. This prize is designed to accelerate heliostat component technology innovation through the design, development, demonstration, and eventual commercialization of selected heliostat components.
Phase 1: Concept Contest
Up to nine winners will receive $100,000 each in cash and will be eligible to compete in the Design contest. Competitors demonstrate that they have identified and taken action to develop a credible concept for technology supporting the advancement of Heliostat technologies. Specifically, they will identify promising technologies for one of the following components: i) heliostat structures, ii) mirror facets, iii) wireless control systems. Any eligible person, team, or business can submit a package to compete in the Concept Contest, although individuals must form a business if they advance to the Design Contest. A panel of expert reviewers from industry, national laboratories, and government evaluate the submissions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) then selects the winners (semifinalists) based on expert reviewer input and the impact the new solutions may have on the heliostat industry.
Phase 2: Design Contest
Up to six winners will receive $180,000 each in cash and will be eligible to compete in the Assess Contest. Semifinalists work to substantially advance their technology into an initial design. They should further develop their design and any of their desired models of the components (heliostat structures, mirror facets, or wireless control systems) which they identified in the Concept Contest. A panel of expert reviewers from industry, national laboratories, and government evaluate the submissions. DOE then selects the winners (finalists) based on expert reviewer input and the impact the new solutions may have on the heliostat industry.
Phase 3: Assess Contest
Up to three winners will receive $300,000 each in cash. Finalists work to substantially advance their design, perform initial testing of the components from the Design Contest, and build a prototype or partial prototype. A panel of expert reviewers from industry, national laboratories, and government evaluate the submissions. DOE then selects the winners based on expert reviewer input and the impact the new solutions may have on the heliostat industry.
Phase 1 - Concept
Concept Contest Open:
May 9, 2023
Concept Contest Submission Deadline:
August 31, 2023
Concept Contest Winners Announcement:
October, 2023 (anticipated)
Phase 2 - Design
Design Contest Open:
November 1, 2023 (anticipated)
Design Contest Submission Deadline:
February 29, 2024 (anticipated)
Design Contest Winners Announcement:
March 2024 (anticipated)
Phase 3 - Assess
Assess Contest Open:
April 1, 2024 (anticipated)
Assess Contest Submission Deadline:
September 16, 2024 (anticipated)
Assess Contest Winners Announcement:
October 2024 (anticipated)
All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.
Sign up for updates for the Heliostat Prize here.
Who is Eligible to Compete?
The competition is open to individuals, private entities, and nonfederal government entities (such as states, counties, tribes, municipalities, and academic institutions) that are subject to the following requirements:
- An individual prize competitor (who is not competing as a member of a group) must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
- A group of individuals competing as one team may win, provided that the online account holder of the submission is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. Individuals competing as part of a team may participate if they are legally authorized to work in the United States.
- Academic institutions must be based in the United States.
view the official prize rules for more details.
Solutions that help shape the future
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