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We want your ideas!

Have an idea to address a challenge in the solar energy industry?  Get involved in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5 Software Track. 


Not sure if your idea is a good fit?   Need help with your application?  

Attend Idea Lab

Come, participate, and learn from a select panel of experts.  They will be helping applicants integrate Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) principles to solar solutions. 

Submit your proposal for a chance to win cash prizes

You could win anywhere from $30,000-$60,000 for simply submiting your solar solutions, and up to $480,000 plus technical support. Deadline is October 5th. 

Have an Idea to Address a Challenge
in the Solar Energy Industry?

Solar panel against blue sky background. Photovoltaic, alternative electricity source. Ide

What is the American-Made Solar Prize?

        It is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with the purpose of enabling the rapid development of solar solutions. It empowers people and organizations to turn their ideas into reality by providing attractive cash prizes, technical support, and direct access to our nation’s diverse innovation ecosystem.


        Starting in 2018, the American-Made Solar Prize focused on bringing technology innovations in the manufacturing sector (what is now known as the Hardware Track). This year, for the first time, the Solar Prize is looking for ideas to reduce the soft costs (people-related costs) of installing solar through a part of the program called the Software Track.

  These ideas could focus on anything from ways to address challenges related to zoning, siting, permitting, project development, or financing, to workforce development, awareness and information, and more. The Software Track is asking people to develop software and business solutions (data systems, websites, apps, tools, new business models, new financial models, etc.) that can address barriers to solar deployment. Solar energy is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest paths to President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.



The Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest

There is a cash bonus if your solar idea benefits underserved communities. Examples include lowering costs, allocating the benefits of shared access, improving customer reach and engagement, streamlining development, making information more accessible, increasing health benefits, providing job opportunities, improving economic outcomes, and more.

Who Can Participate?

When is the Deadline?

October 5, 2021, by 5p.m. ET. 

Avoid technical difficulties close to the deadline by submitting your application early!

Anybody! The only requirement is to have at least one U.S citizen or U.S. organization on the application. The Solar Prize calls for innovative solutions from individuals, organizations, government, private sector, academia, and multisector teams.

Solar Panels

How do I Apply?


A 90-second video explaining the problem and your innovative solution


A cover page including answers to questions on the application


A summary PPT slide to be made public


A technical assistance request (identifying your needs, if any) 

Visit the Solar Prize Round 5 Software Track HeroX page and click the red ‘Solve this Challenge’ button on the right-hand side. Confirm your account through the confirmation email from HeroX.


To complete your submission, you’ll need:

What's In It for Me? Glad You Asked!

You could win anywhere from $30,000 - $60,000 for simply submitting an idea. If you are one of the 20 winners, you could participate in subsequent contests with additional cash prizes and technical support. If you are the final winner, you could win almost half a million dollars for creating and implementing your idea! And that’s not all! You can submit up to two ideas, so the cash award would double if both concepts win!

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What Resources are Out There to Help Me Develop My Idea and Submit my Application?

Application Support

Writing a Sticky Note

Co-Create with our network of experts in

Idea Lab

Network Matching Tool

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