DOE opens USD-3m contest to spur US solar manufacturing

NREL researcher Mengjin Yang examines hybrid perovskite solar cells in his lab. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

June 8 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of Energy (DoE) on Thursday launched a USD-3-million (EUR 2.5m) prize competition in a drive to “revitalise” and strengthen the US solar manufacturing industry.

Funds under the American-Made Solar Prize programme will be disbursed following a series of three contests, open both for entrepreneurial individuals and teams with ideas for new solar products. All participants have to be based in the US. They will have access to mentoring and supportive resources through a network of national labs, incubators, investors and industry experts.

Applications in the programme will be accepted by October 5, the DOE said.

Under the first phase of the contest, eligible contenders will have to identify “an impactful idea or solution” related to a “critical need” in the US’ solar industry. They will compete for up to USD 50,000 per winner and, if selected, will proceed to a second contest to advance their technology solution “toward a viable and promising proof of concept.” Awards in the second phase will be of up to USD 200,000 per participant.

The third part of the contest will see the distribution of a USD-500,000 prize per winner. In it, competitors will further advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to test the prototype.

The American-Made Solar Prize initiative will be managed by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.849)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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