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Innovators Selected to Advance in Competition Designed to Boost Solar Manufacturing

A group of 20 teams were invited to advance to the next stage in the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing.

Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and is eligible to compete in the next two phases of the competition. Through a rigorous evaluation process, teams were chosen for the novelty of their ideas and how their solutions address a critical need for the solar industry. The innovations represented by the competitors include advances in photovoltaic and concentrating solar-thermal power technologies, new power electronics devices, and innovative manufacturing techniques.

“We are impressed by the caliber of ideas submitted by competitors,” said Daniel Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). “These teams represent the next frontier for solar innovation and we’re excited to see the teams work with our partners in the American-Made Network and at NREL to make these ideas a reality. In the end, the best ideas and collaborators will win.”

The teams will tackle a variety of solar challenges, including the development of new PV cell designs that can increase efficiency and improve manufacturability, new devices like inverters that use low-cost silicon carbide or tools that ease PV installation, and new hardware and module designs that enable new applications for PV.

The teams from 15 states will work to design a proof of concept over the next three months. Competitors will then pitch their work to a team of expert judges at a national demonstration day in May. Then, five to ten finalists will compete for two final prizes at a second demonstration day this fall.

This program is funded by EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Learn more about the American-Made Solar Prize HERE. Learn more about EERE HERE.