American-Made Challenges

Solar Prize Round 5

The American-Made Solar Prize is a prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar innovation through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country.

Rounds 1 through 4 of the Solar Prize focused on solar manufacturing and hardware components. Solar Prize Round 5 is structured with two tracks that focus separately on hardware and software components to allow more entrepreneurs to compete in the solar innovation space.

American-Made Solar Prize Logo Female researcher working in a laboratory, observing equipment while conducting an experiment.

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 reality in months, rather than years.

The Hardware Track and Software Track follow the same three-contest structure but compete for separate prizes. Participants have the chance to win millions in cash prizes, support vouchers, and other resources to help them advance in the competition and accelerate the development of their solutions.

  • Ready! Contest - Both tracks focus on innovative ideas that will address a solar industry technology need. Teams will prove that they have developed a great team, a game-changing solution, and an achievable plan.
  • Set! Contest - This contest expects teams to make progress in developing (and demonstrating) either early stage hardware proof-of-concepts (in the Hardware Track) or software minimum viable products (in the Software Track).
  • Go! Contest - Each track focuses on proving that the solutions successfully work and teams have made substantial progress over the course of the contests. This includes developing strong public/private pilot projects in the case of the Hardware Track or proving that software solutions have secured paying customers and developed a sustainable business model in the Software Track.
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 Software Track is a software prize that includes optional additional challenges that focus on advancing solar in underserved communities. Participants who choose to incorporate this initiative into their solutions have the chance to be considered for a new Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Contest and a bonus cash prize!

Note: Please refer to the official rules for each track for specific requirements

The American-Made Network

The American-Made Network expands throughout the competition and increasingly generates more connections for entrepreneurs and supports their success

The American-Made Network is prepared to provide support and services 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.

Learn More and Connect

Round 5 Important Dates

Both the Hardware Track and Software Track follow the same parallel structure and timeline but compete for separate prizes.

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

Sign up for updates on the Hardware Track HeroX page or Software Track HeroX page.

Solutions that Can Shape the Future of Solar

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.