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Solar Prize Round 5

Hardware Track

The fifth round of the Solar Prize is designed to spur more solar innovation than ever before by splitting participants into two separate technology-focused tracks. The Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes over three progressive contests to competitors who are developing physical solar innovations that energize U.S. manufacturing.

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Why a Hardware Track?

The Solar Prize has always placed an emphasis on manufacturing solar innovation in the United States. After four successful rounds focusing primarily on tangible technologies, the prize administrators decided to split Round 5 into two tracks—the Hardware Track and the Software Track. Both follow the same prize structure but allow competitors to stay in different lanes to bring both hardware and software products closer to market.

If your solar innovation focuses on a physical component, manufacturing process, or producible product, the Hardware Track is for you. If your solution is a software technology, you are encouraged to compete in the Software Track.

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Graphic of the American-Made Challenges Ready, Set, Go framework; Make a plan, design a proof of concept, develop prototype and identify pilot partner

The Solar Prize Contests

The Solar Prize encourages the rapid development of innovative solar energy solutions capable of addressing the tough challenges facing the solar industry. Solar Prize competitors participate in three contests—the Ready! Set! and Go! Contests to transform their ideas into concepts and then early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing.

The Hardware Track offers $3 million in cash prizes, plus additional support vouchers and connections to national laboratories and industry resources.

The American-Made Network

The American-Made Network provides support to competitors throughout the competition and is composed of national labs, incubators, investors, facilities, and seasoned industry mentors. The American-Made Network strengthens and scales the critical connections needed to grow new businesses, develop solutions, and sustain American innovation.

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Important Dates

  • Round 5 Launch: June 10, 2021
  • Ready! Contest submission deadline: Oct. 5, 2021
  • Ready! Contest semifinalists announced and Set! Contest begins: December 2021
  • Set! Contest submission deadline: April 2022
  • Set! Contest finalists announced and Go! Contest begins: Anticipated April 2022
  • Go! Contest submission deadline: Anticipated September 2022
  • Go! Contest winners announced: Anticipated September 2022

All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

Sign up for updates on the Hardware Track HeroX page.


Ready for the Challenge?

If you’re ready to move your solar hardware technology closer to its market-ready potential, the Solar Prize Round 5 Hardware Track can help you take the next step.

Follow the Hardware Track Challenge