- The Department of Energy in the US has announced second round of its American-Made Solar Prize worth $3 million
- It seeks to have ideas to be worked upon by competitors to improve the country’s solar manufacturing competitiveness
- Ideas of the participants will be critically evaluated by a panel of expert reviewers
- July 16, 2019 is the last day for individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners or researchers at national laboratories to submit their ideas
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has officially launched the second round of its American-Made Solar Prize, after shortlisting 20 semifinalists in February 2019 in round 1. It will run the second round and the final stages of round 1 of the $3 million competition, concurrently.
The initiative requires competitors to identify a critical challenge related to the country’s solar manufacturing competitiveness, create a proof of concept and secure a partner to test a prototype. During the demonstrations, they will pitch their ideas to be evaluated by a panel of expert reviewers. The criteria of evaluation will be the quality of the solution and progress made during contest period.
The competition is open to US based individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners or researchers at national laboratories.
Applications can be submitted until July 16, 2019.
Out of the entries received, semifinalists will be selected who will then participate in a national demonstration day in May 2019, and winners be announced in Fall 2019 out of 5 to 10 finalists.
About the Solar Prize
Funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, the Solar Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It encourages innovative ideas to be transformed into concepts, for early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing.
As per the given timeline, the competitors are required to develop new solutions capable of advancing technologies for the domestic solar market. They are encouraged to seek private sector partnerships and investments.
The first round had more than 160 teams applying initially, with 20 semifinalists selected. Among the semi-finalists, selected Tandem PV Inc is working on creating perovskite+silicon tandem product prototype to have high efficiency low-cost solar. ETC Solar’s project relates to invisible metal contacts for solar cells, Wei Pan’s team is working on translucent solar panels for greenhouse farming, and the like.
It must be mentioned here that US President Donald Trump, though not a renewables fan at all, has been pushing for Made in America and America first policies with a view to create more jobs and improve the competitiveness of the nation’s local industries.