The American-Made Solar Prize is a prize competition from the U.S. Department of Energy that is designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing. The competition aims to support the growth of U.S. solar manufacturing and reenergize American energy innovation by tapping into American’s competitive spirit and the nation's unparalleled innovation ecosystem.
Through a series of three contests, innovators from across the country work to transform big ideas into concepts and then prototypes ready for industry testing on a condensed timeline. The Solar Prize offers competitors $3 million in cash prizes and support from the American-Made Network, helping connect entrepreneurs to national labs, industry experts, facilities, and other resources they need to succeed.
Through the American-Made Network, the world's best-in-class national laboratory research base is combined with an unparalleled entrepreneurial support system consisting of pioneering fabrication facilities, energy incubators, and other valuable resources. Together, they support competitors in the Solar Prize to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale up.
Competitors are entrepreneurial individuals or teams legally residing or based in the United States. Competitors can be individuals of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform an idea into an impactful solution.
The Solar Prize supports the Administration’s work to spur solar manufacturing, develop innovative solar solutions and products, and create domestic jobs and opportunities through public-private partnerships. The prize model disrupts traditional thinking, and introduces, expands, and evolves what’s possible for federal agencies. Prize competitions increase the number of perspectives working to solve difficult problems, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, remove barriers to participation, and make innovation easy, fast, and agile.
The American-Made Solar Prize is the inaugural prize of the American-Made Challenges program, which incentivizes the nation's entrepreneurs to reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace. These new challenges seek to lower the barriers U.S.-based innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning from years to weeks, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE's National Laboratories across the nation.
The American-Made Solar Prize is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The first round of the Solar Prize was announced in June 2018. Semifinalists were selected in February 2019 and finalists were selected at a demonstration day event in June 2019. Round 1 winners were announced at the Solar Power International conference in September 2019.
The second round of the Solar Prize was announced in March 2019. Semifinalists were selected in September 2019 and finalists will be selected at a demonstration day event in March 2020.
The third round of the Solar Prize was announced in September 2019. Semifinalists were selected in February 2020 and finalists will be selected at a demonstration day event anticipated to be held in July 2020.
Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help transform the solar industry through the American-Made Solar Prize.