Author: US DOE Staff      11/10/2021         SETO

Challenge Overview

Advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunities is a responsibility of the entire U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize fits into President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which promises to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and, at the same time, inform equitable research, development, and deployment within DOE.

Part of the American-Made Challenges series and sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.

 

Up to $2.5 million in cash prizes!

The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will award prizes of $200,000 to up to 10 organizations for a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million.

It is expected that Phase One funds will enable the winning organizations to fund proposed programs for approximately one full-time-equivalent person and carry out related activities that may include actively engaging with disadvantaged communities in their regions, building relationships through workshops and other events, providing technical support, and facilitating connections with technical expertise and academic institutions. These are examples of potential activities, and organizations are encouraged to think creatively about specific activities that play to their strengths and serve their communities.

Prize Goals

The goals of the prize are to:

  1. Enable clean energy and climate innovation, and entrepreneurship programming and capabilities at colleges and universities that serve large populations of students underrepresented in STEM, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community colleges, and undergraduate institutions.
  2. Create or increase participation in clean energy and climate-smart job training and job placement/hiring, including programs that target participation from disadvantaged communities, including formerly incarcerated individuals and youth transitioning out of foster care.  Workforce training could cover identifying energy efficiencies and greenhouse gas inventories, renewable energy manufacturing, and deployment.
  3. Foster grassroots innovation related to just and equitable clean energy deployment through activities focusing on community-centric networks and bottom-up solutions for sustainable development, based on the needs of the communities involved.
  4. Identify and fund activities that will help disadvantaged communities become aware of, apply into or otherwise secure DOE funding or other federal, state, local government or private (for-profit or nonprofit) funding, in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.
  5. Enable the development of replicable clean energy transitions that deliver just and equitable benefits to disadvantaged communities in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.

The winners of Phase One of the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will receive cash awards of $200,000 each. Phase One winners will be eligible to participate in a Phase Two of the prize, anticipated to take place 12 months following Phase One awards, during which time it is anticipated that a total of $500,000 will be awarded to up to three teams.

For more information on the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, please review the official rules document.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds and partners with numerous solar-focused American-Made Challenges. Through these challenges, innovators have the chance to win cash prizes and vouchers for ideas that advance U.S. leadership in the energy industry. The competitions also offer cash incentives and recognition for Connectors who support the program’s mission and competitors. These challenges are administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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The American-Made Challenges is empowering change-makers to lead the clean energy revolution. To be innovators, creators, challengers. Through training, teaming, connections, mentoring, and prize challenges, we’re building a clean energy future for all Americans.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

American-Made Solar Prize

The American-Made Solar Prize is a multi-million prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country.

American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials. Through two contests, established perovskite researchers launch a company and move toward commercialization in under a year.

American-Made Solar Desalination Prize

The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition designed to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. Each stage of the competition will have increasing prize amounts, totaling millions of dollars.

American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize

The American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize is designed to better enable solar industry stakeholders with state-of-the-art solar forecasting capabilities. This prize makes use of the Solar Forecast Arbiter, an open platform developed by the University of Arizona, to allow for the transparent, rigorous, and consistent analysis and evaluation of solar forecasts.

Other Prizes Co-Sponsored by SETO

ENERGYTECH UNIVERSITY PRIZE

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) in partnership with SETO, the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

INCLUSIVE ENERGY INNOVATION PRIZE

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity in partnership with SETO, the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.

 

Learn about SETO’s manufacturing and competitiveness researchfunding programs, and open funding opportunities.