US DOE Announces Winners of Solar Prize and 2 New Solar Initiatives

The US DOE has announced the winners of the first round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a competition designed to revitalise US solar manufacturing.

Solar (Photo by Klaus Leidorf)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the winners of the first round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a USD 3 million competition designed to revitalise US solar manufacturing. As part of the prize, the winners each received USD 500,000 in cash for use at DOE National Laboratories. 

DOE Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Daniel R Simmons, announced the winners at the ongoing Solar Power International event in Utah.

The winners, Phase3 Photovoltaics and Solar Inventions, faced an expert panel of industry judges at one of the solar industry’s largest conference.

  • Phase3 Photovoltaics (Portland, OR) – Prefabricated Solar Systems: This team developed a cross-functional effort to establish the process for solar to be integrated into factory-built homes.
  • Solar Inventions (Atlanta, GA) – Configurable Current Cell: C3: This team created a new approach to develop a new photovoltaic cell design that can help produce a more stable and reliable module.

“The American-Made Solar Prize brings together private sector entrepreneurship with expertise at DOE’s national labs to foster next-level innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing,” said Assistant Secretary Simmons. “These transformative technologies will address critical needs in the U.S. solar industry, and develop impactful solutions for the industry to utilise and overcome these challenges.”

At the event, the DOE also announced the competitors of Round 2 and the launch of Round 3.

In addition, two initiatives led by EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) were also announced at the event. The National Community Solar Partnership which is aimed at expanding affordable community-solar access to every American household by 2025, and the teams participating in the new Solar District Cup. 

The National Community Solar Partnership is designed to empower government entities, utilities, financiers, businesses, nonprofits, affordable-housing providers, and stakeholders to design and implement affordable solar models that meet the needs of their communities.

Funded by SETO and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Solar District Cup is a collegiate competition in which student teams design and model solar-plus-storage systems across multiple buildings on a local distribution network.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for