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Solar Data Bounty Prize

The American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize is designed to incentivize photovoltaic (PV) system owners to share information-rich datasets from their assets. With this data, industry and research communities can continue to develop, validate, and fine-tune modeling tools for solar applications. This prize offers more than $1.4 million in cash prizes to competitors throughout two stages.

Growing the Nation's Solar Capacity

The Solar Futures Study, released in 2021 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), found that with aggressive cost reductions, supportive policies, and large-scale electrification, solar energy could account for as much as 40% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2035 and 45% by 2050.

However, PV systems often involve components with complex electrical, thermal, and mechanical behavior, creating a challenging task for research and development (R&D) initiatives. This prize aims to help bridge the gap between available data and commercial and academic R&D efforts seeking to improve the accuracy of PV system modeling, thus lowering the risk associated with developing and operating those assets.

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Prize Structure

The Solar Data Bounty Prize is comprised of two stages, and each stage has two tracks:

  • Track A for small-to-medium systems (100-5,000 kWdc)
  • Track B for larger systems (> 5,000 kWdc)

Stage 1: In Stage 1, competitors will submit metadata about the timeseries data from a system of their choice and a minimum of one month of irradiance timeseries data from that same system. The top 25 selected competitors across the two tracks in Stage 1 will share a pool of $125,000 in cash prizes and become eligible to compete in the next stage.

Stage 2: In Stage 2, competitors will be asked to submit the actual complete timeseries data corresponding to the metadata shared during their Stage 1 submission. Up to six Track A competitors will receive $80,000 in cash prizes, and up to three Track B winners will receive $130,000. Plus, up to four runners-up in Track A will win $30,000 and up to two runners-up in Track B will win $50,000.

An additional two $40,000 bonus prizes will be offered to Track A winners and two $60,000 bonus prizes will be offered to Track B winners for providing data over a 6-year period.

Competitors in Stage 2 will also have the opportunity to join the PV Fleet Data Initiative project to receive focused performance analysis by researchers at NREL. Read more about scoring factors and prize amounts in the Official Rules.

Who is Eligible to Compete?

Competitors in the Solar Data Bounty Prize must comply with the eligibility requirements outlined in the Official Rules. Private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), and nonfederal government entities (such as states, counties, tribes, municipalities, and academic institutions) are eligible to apply, so long as the PV systems are installed in the United States.

Individuals and teams of individuals are not eligible to compete. Read the Official Rules for full eligibility requirements.

Important Dates and Deadlines

The Solar Data Bounty Prize Stage 1 submission deadline is Aug.14 at 5 p.m. ET. All dates and deadlines for the prize are subject to change, including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements. Sign up for updates on HeroX, the official competition platform.

solar panels in a field and people looking at a computer. Solar Data Bounty Prize

Solutions that Can Shape the Future of Solar

Do you have data that could assist commercial and academic R&D efforts seeking to improve the accuracy of PV system modeling? You belong here. Join the Solar Data Bounty Prize on HeroX to get started!

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