The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the winners of the third US solar award and the 20 semi-finalist teams selected to advance to the next phase of the fourth round. With the Solar Prize, DOE is working to promote innovations in the field of hardware technology, market them more quickly and strengthen competitiveness in the manufacture of solar hardware.
“Since its inception in 2018, the Solar Prize has awarded 80 teams $ 11 million for solving problems that are changing the solar industry,” said Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “We are excited to see what these winners will do.”
The two winning teams in the third round will each receive a grand prize of USD 500,000 in cash and USD 75,000 in vouchers. The winning teams of the third round are:
- -Maxout Renewables (Livermore, Calif.) – This team developed a device powered by a flywheel that can turn a residential solar array into a microgrid. This home microgrid can continue to supply electricity during a major power failure in the sunshine
- -Wattch Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) – This team created a solar monitoring platform to increase operational efficiency for commercial and industrial photovoltaic (PV) systems. The platform can provide predictive maintenance plans, improve remote and automated diagnostics, and better model the lifetime of a plant’s energy yield
The 20 teams of the 4th round were selected from over 130 submissions and represent 12 countries. They will each receive $ 50,000 to turn their solar energy ideas into prototypes ready for industrial testing.
Fifteen of the fourth round projects are PV solutions that address challenges such as module cleanliness, component recycling and reducing battery degradation to improve energy storage. Three projects focus on solar thermal energy solutions: a non-metal air heater that converts sunlight into heat, a liquid metal that makes mirrors more reflective, and a collector system that minimizes heat loss. Two projects aim to improve solar integration into the grid: a next-generation power electronics chip and an inverter that can switch off the light even if the grid fails.
Over the next four months, these teams will continue to develop and test their solutions to receive cash rewards of up to $ 100,000 and vouchers of up to $ 75,000. Teams have access to technical support and resources to raise private funds through the American-Made Network, which includes the National Labs, Technology Incubators, Accelerators, and Investors.
The America-made solar award is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and funded by the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.
Click here to access the fourth round project descriptions.