The American-Made Network


The American-Made Challenges: Solar Desalination Prize will tap into and expand the existing American-Made Network consisting of national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the nation to provide expertise to Solar Desal Prize innovators. Teams can use the Network for assistance with prototyping, business plans, and connections to testing facilities and other partners.

Explore the network map

The American-Made Network cultivates resources and builds connections that enhance, accelerate, and amplify the competitors’ efforts. The objective is to link participants with ideas, people, resources, financing, and relevant industry expertise, all of which are necessary for long-term success.


Members of the Network are known as Connectors. Connectors are entities that identify, recruit, and support competitors, including helping them navigate the innovation process – they may be incubators, universities, think tanks, test facilities, industry groups, or any enabler seeking to help competitors win by performing support activities, such as:

  • Attracting a diverse range of talented individuals and teams to become contest competitors;
  • Providing resources and tools to help competitors refine their innovations, develop business plans, work with mentors, identify sites for their prototype solar desalination facility, connect with investors and industry partners, and reduce technology and business risks;
  • Raising non-federal funding to support this program and its participants;
  • Connecting competitors to regional prototyping and desalination expertise, facilities, and experts.

Connectors who support participants that go on to win any of the contests will be financially rewarded based on the table below.

Connector performance payments:

Reward NameAward AmountTotal Amount AvailableDetails
Test Site$10,000$100,000 poolDistributed to Connectors for recruiting new test site facilities that are not already part of the Network, and are capable of, and interested in, hosting a prototype solar desalination facility.
Recruiting$5,000$100,000 poolDistributed to Connectors for recruiting Innovation Contest quarterfinalists that have not been listed as part of an application for funding, or have not received funding, from SETO in the past three years.
Team$5,000$100,000 poolDistributed to Connectors for providing a critical connection that led to a core team member being integrated into the final team.
Partner$25,000$100,000 poolDistributed to Connectors who find a commercial partner and/or private funding that is incorporated into a winning Test Contest submission.

Competitors and expert submission reviewers in any given contest cannot also be Connectors for that contest. If a Connector formally joins a team, they forgo any financial incentive and recognition payment as a Connector for that contest.

View the Connector Guidelines

Solutions that Can Shape the Future of Solar

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help promote transformation by participating in the American-Made Challenges.

Join the American-Made Network