brushed metal background
Solar Prize Round 5 logo

Solar Prize Round 5

Software 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 Software Track is a software prize that offers $1.6 million in cash prizes over three progressive contests to competitors who are accelerating the development, validation, and commercialization of new innovative solar software solutions that increase the competitiveness of the U.S. solar industry.


Why a Software 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 communications, computation, data systems, information technology, or business models with a software focus, the Software Track is for you. If your solution is a hardware technology, we encourage you to compete in the Hardware Track.

Close up photo of a researchers co-programming software

A Focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Software Track also offers participants the option to compete for a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest, which offers additional cash prizes for technologies that consider and incorporate environmental justice principles. This optional element asks competitors to develop solutions that enable underserved communities to overcome systemic barriers to solar deployment, with an additional prize pool of $300,000 available to those who successfully complete this challenge.

Learn more about the JEDI Contest in the official Software Track rules.

View the Software Track Rules
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 new 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 Software Track offers $1.6 million in cash prizes, plus additional support vouchers, the JEDI Contest, 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.

Join and connect
Graphic of the American-Made Challenges Perovskite Startup Prize timeline

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 Software Track HeroX page.

Ready for the Challenge?

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

Follow the Software Track Challenge