Innovation is about making ideas happen. The American-Made Network will accelerate and sustain solar innovation through a diverse and powerful network that includes national laboratories, energy incubators, facilities, and other valuable industry partners from across the U.S. who will engage, connect, mentor, and boost the efforts of Solar Prize competitors.
Help competitors solve pressing technology challenges, forge connections, and advance potentially game-changing ideas and innovations. The American-Made Network leverages highly specialized skills, tools, and expertise to strengthen and scale critical connections to support the progress and success of competitors. Members will include national labs, incubators, investors, facilities, and seasoned industry members.
Connectors: DOE and NREL will partner with national labs, accelerators, incubators, universities, industry organizations, and other entities to help competitors navigate the innovation process. Connectors recruit entrepreneurs into the prize and provide the support and connections needed to win by performing support actives such as:
Connectors who support participants that go on to win any of the Ready! Set! or Go! Contests can earn performance payments based on the table below.
|Anticipated Number of Awards||Dollar Amounts||Details|
|Up to 25||$25,000 pool||Distributed to Connectors to recruit participants through targeted outreach and events leading up to the Ready! Contest submission deadline.|
|Up to 40||$100,000 pool||Distributed to Connectors for recruiting a winning competitor into in the Ready! Contest.|
|Up to 12||$70,000 pool||Distributed to Connectors that mentor competitors and facilitate partnership agreements of Set! Contest and Go! Contest winners.|
|Up to 3||$200,000 pool||Distributed proportionately to the top three Connectors that raise the most private capital in support of the program.|
Entities interested in participating as a Connectors will be invited to sign up for notifications of Connector partnering opportunities.
Power Connectors: Connectors interested in having a more substantial role in expanding the American-Made Solar Prize as power connectors should register before June 19. Power connectors will be eligible to receive a $100,000 contract with NREL to build capacity for the Solar Prize, ensure replicability and long-term sustainability of the prize program. Two will be selected to receive an additional $25,000 to host a demo day event. Power Connectors can earn performance payments for efforts that achieve:
Learn more about the Power Connector roles and how they work alongside NREL to build a sustainable network.
Vouchers will provide competitors access to tools and expertise from national labs or qualified facilities. Competitors can win up to $150,000 in vouchers, which can be used to develop, test, and validate solutions. Voucher facilities provide competitors with:
Registered national labs, Connectors, Power Connectors, private facilities and industry partners can access competitors’ technical assistance requests and be invited to submit a single PowerPoint slide proposal for work that could be performed to help Set! and Go! prize winners advance their concepts via development, fabrication, testing, validation, or other capabilities and expertise.
2/3 of up to $75K (up to$50K) each for Set! and Go! winners
1/3 of up to $75K ($25K each) for Set! and Go! winners
Connectors and Power Connectors are a very important part of the American-Made Network. These organizations are typically incubator or accelerator organizations who are willing to recruit entrepreneurs into the prize and provide the support and connections they need to win. Both Connectors and Power Connectors can win from a total of $400,000 in performance payments by performing support activities such as:
Power Connectors are Connectors who have been selected to have a more substantial role in expanding the American-Made Solar Prize. Selected Power Connectors may be eligible to receive a contract with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory valued at up to $100,000, with a supplemental $25,000 if selected to host a national demo day. Both Connectors and Power Connectors are also eligible for the cash performance awards.
We refer to Facilities as any facility that offers fabrication, small batch manufacturing, prototyping, validation, or other service that will help Competitors advance their products and solutions. Facilities include: national laboratories as well as independent facilities who will provide competitors access to tools and expertise that will help them develop their solutions.
Competitors can win a total of $525,000 in vouchers, which can be used at qualified fabrication facilities to test and validate contestant’s solutions.
Facilities help competitors develop their innovation by providing:
Industry Partners include all other partners who are not registered as Connectors or Power Connectors and are not a Facility, as defined above. Partners may include organizations or individuals who want to help make the Solar Prize a success by connecting teams to resources, are willing to offer a service that is not a traditional fabrication, prototyping, or manufacturing service, or are interested in partnering with and/or funding teams or the Solar Prize directly.
Industry Partners are invited and encouraged to provide the Solar Prize, Connectors, and Power Connectors with information about their organization or company and describe the resources, capabilities, and facilities that can be offered to the teams.