American-Made Solar Prize Challenge

Innovation happens when the right resources, people, and passion come together. With the Solar Prize, teams of creative individuals and entrepreneurs will advance conceptual solutions toward product realities with the support of a unique and powerful network and a chance to win up to $3 million in cash prizes.

A prize competition structured for success

The Solar Prize is an opportunity for anyone interested in accelerating ideas and solutions. The American-Made Network is designed to strengthen and scale the very best ideas and teams through three progressive prize competitions, the Ready! Set! Go! Contests. This network provides the tools and expertise to help projects succeed and is comprised of an unparalleled innovation system. These resources will provide technical insight, product validation, and strategic support to teams throughout the competition.

More than $3 million in incentives for innovation

The Ready! Set! Go! Contests will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions to solar industry needs for a total of $3 million in cash prizes and up to $525,000 in vouchers which can be used at national laboratories and other voucher facilities to develop, test, and validate. Each stage will have a 90-day performance period when participants work to advance their solutions.

The Solar Prize Blueprint


sketch of a handdrawn speech bubble with lightbulb inside

accelerate the exchange of ideas

Your ideas can promote innovation!

ideation runs throughout the duration of the program


sketch of handdrawn arrow signs

90 days
Incubate your ideas and products to pave a successful path forward

20 to 40 winners
win up to $50,000 cash


sketch of handdrawn tools, a wrech crossing over a screwdriver

90 days
Create proof-of-concepts and ideas for working prototypes

5 to 10 winners
win up to $200,000 cash
win up to $75,000 in vouchers


sketch of two handdrawn hands that are shaking in agreement

90 days
Secure a partner to advance your prototypes and develop a pilot project

2 winners
win up to $500,000 cash
win up to $75,000 in vouchers

sketch of a handdrawn curved arrow connecting ideation to a horizontal timeline that spans the duration of the Ready, Set, Go contests
sketch of handdrawn timeline arrow that spans the duration of the Ready, Set, Go contests
ideation runs throughout the duration of the program

The Ready!, Set! and Go! Contests


It all starts with a big idea. You can enter the Ready! Contest even with an idea from the ideation platform or an idea that’s all your own. Once a completed package has been submitted on HeroX, your video will be made public and you’ll become part of the Ready! Contest.

Ready! Contest

90 days / 20 - 40 winners / win up to $50,000 cash

Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in the solar industry;

Set! Contest

90 days / 5-10 winners / up to $200,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers

Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept; and

Set! Contest Demo Day

Coming February 2019

Go! Contest

90 days / 2 winners / $500,000 prize and up to $75,000 in vouchers

Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.

Go! Contest Demo Day

Coming May 2019

Competitors in the Set! and Go! Contests pitch and demonstrate proof of concepts and prototypes to a judging panel and audience at two, live, in-person Demo Day events. Demo days are opportunities to meet competitors, connectors, power connectors, and other members of the American-Made Network. Demo Days culminate in the announcement of Set! and Go! prize winners.

American-Made Solar Prize Logo

Anyone can compete

Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams, legally residing or based in the U.S., can compete including members of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform ideas into impactful realities.

Competing in the prize is easy!
  1. Identify an important problem you want to solve (discover ideas through ideation on HeroX)
  2. Submit a 90-second video describing your challenge and proposed solution, team, and plan
  3. Answer a short, four-question narrative and make a slide about this problem or challenge
  4. Submit a two-page technical assistance request
  5. Update your videos and statements as you advance through the contests.