DOE solar
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the 20 competitors who have been invited to advance to the next phase of the American-Made Solar Prize Round 3, a competition designed to incentivise the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in solar energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.

The American-Made Solar Prize is designed to help American entrepreneurs thrive in the competitive global energy market. Each round of the prize brings new technologies to pre-commercial readiness in less than a year, ensuring new ideas enter the marketplace.

As part of the competition, teams will have access to a network of DOE National Laboratories, technology incubators and accelerators, venture capital firms, angel investors and industry. This American-Made Network will help these competitors raise private funding, validate early-stage products, or test technologies in the field.

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Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and become eligible to compete in the next phase of the competition. Through a rigorous evaluation process, teams were chosen based on the novelty of their ideas and how their solutions address a critical need of the solar industry. The teams were selected from 120 submissions and represent 11 states.

These projects will tackle challenges related to new solar applications, like farming, as well as show how solar can be used to provide backup power when the grid goes down. Nine teams will advance solar photovoltaic technologies, and 11 will address challenges related to how solar integrates with the grid. The projects are as follows:

Photovoltaics:

  • Durable Antireflective and Self-Cleaning Glass (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Pursuit Solar - More Power, Less Hassle (Denver, NC)
  • PV WaRD (San Diego, CA)
  • Remotely Deployed Solar Arrays (Charlottesville, VA)
  • Robotics Changing the Landscape for Solar Farms (San Antonio, TX)
  • TrackerSled (Chicago, IL)
  • Transparent Polymer Barrier Films for PV (Bristol, PA)
  • Solar for Snow (Duluth, MN)
  • SolarWall Power Tower (Buffalo, NY)

Systems Integration:

  • Affordable Local Solar Storage via Utility Virtual Power Plants (Parker, TX)
  • Allbrand Solar Monitor (Detroit, MI)
  • Beyond Monitoring – Next Gen Software and Hardware (Atlanta, GA)
  • Democratizing Solar with Artificial Intelligence Energy Management (Houston, TX)
  • Embedded, Multi-Function Maximum Power Point Tracker for Smart Modules (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Evergrid: Keep Solar Flowing When the Grid Is Down (Livermore, CA)
  • Inverter Health Scan (San Jose, CA)
  • JuiceBox: Integrated Solar Electricity for Americans Transitioning out of Homelessness and Recovering from Natural Disasters (Claremont, CA)
  • Low-Cost Parallel-Connected DC Power Optimizer (Blacksburg, VA)
  • Powerfly: A Plug-and-Play Solar Monitoring Device (Berkeley, CA)
  • Simple-Assembly Storage Kit (San Antonio, TX)

Read the descriptions of the projects.

Over the next six months, these teams will fast-track their efforts to identify, develop, and test disruptive solutions. During a national demonstration day at Solar Power International in September 2020, a panel of judges will select two final winners who will receive a $500,000 prize. Learn more at the American-Made Solar Prize webpage.

The American-Made Challenges are part of the DOE's plans to incentivise US entrepreneurs to reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace.

These new challenges seek to lower the barriers US-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 US energy transition is a key focus at DISTRIBUTECH 2021, February 9th - 11th in San Diego California.
Click here to register your attendance and find out how you can contribute to North America's smart energy future.