Solar Energy Innovation Competition Information Session and Brainstorm (online event)


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Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:45pm

Entrepreneurship Foundation

The Foundation is a 501c3. Our mission is to provide effective resources for Educators ​and Entrepreneurs.


American-Made competitions, offered by the U.S. Department of Energy, are designed to reward innovation and problem solving. Innovators work to transform big ideas into concepts and then prototypes ready for industry testing on a condensed timeline. 


The Solar Prize is broken up into two tracks: hardware and software, with a total of $3 million in prizes for submitted ideas. The hardware track focuses on a physical component, manufacturing process, or producible product. The software track focuses on communications, computation, or information technology that allows industry to rethink how today’s solar energy problems are solved.


Watch American Made's video for a quick contest overview. 


Event Details:

This information and ideation session will provide an overview presentation of the competition, its goals and requirements for submission. Participants will be invited to brainstorm ideas then work in teams to draft ideas and pitches, with the goal of leaving the session prepared to finalize and submit an idea to the competition. 


Featured Indusry speaker: Brendan Smith of Sunlight Solar


Prize Summary

Prizes:Overview: The Solar Prize is a 2-track, 3 phase prize competition offering $3.6 Million in cash awards for the development of innovative ideas based in the advancement of solar energy.

Local Prize: The Entrepreneurship Foundation has made an additional (above national prize pool) funds available to reward local teams who participate in this event and submit qualifying submissions to this contest. Based on pitches at end of this event, one team from both software and hardware tracks will receive up to $500.

National Prizes


Phase 1: Up to 20 teams, $50,000 each.

Phase 2: Up to 10 teams, $100,000 each.

Phase 3: Up to 2 teams, $500,000 each.


Phase 1: Up to 20 teams, $30,000 each.

Phase 2: Up to 10 teams, $60,000 each.

Phase 3: Up to 2 teams, $200,000 each.


The Submission Package for Phase 1 must include: 

  • 90-second Video (to be made public)
  • Cover Page
  • Narrative that answers four questions about: problem, solution, team, and plan (not to exceed 2,500 words)
  • One Summary Slide (to be made public)
  • Technical assistance request
  • Letter of Commitment or Support (Optional: available from MakeHaven)

The Deadline for teams to a proposal is October 5, 2021, 5pm ET.

The Judging is looking for proposals that:

  • Clearly define the problem being addressed
  • The solution and why it is transformational and necessary
  • Who the team is and how they offer a diverse background of experience

Learn More:

Hardware: Contest Website & Official Rules

Software: Contest Website & Official Rules


When capacity of event is full you may join the Waiting List. For online events a link to join the session will be automatically emailed after registration.

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