Author: US EERE   Staff     Published:   6/27/2023   EERE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize, a new competition designed to increase the accessibility of high-quality time-series datasets for photovoltaic (PV) systems. These types of datasets can be used to build, train, and optimize models designed for PV system simulation, which can in turn provide more accurate performance estimates and better system designs. Improving the accuracy of PV system modeling lowers the risk of developing and operating those assets, which can attract more capital for deployment of PV power plants.

The Solar Data Bounty Prize shares a common goal with the PV Fleet Performance Data Initiative, incentivizing PV system owners to share their datasets so researchers can continue to develop and fine-tune modeling tools for solar applications.

Owners of PV systems are invited to submit at least five years of historical time-series data at a minimum of 15-minute time resolution for one or two of their systems. Submissions will be scored using a rubric to reflect data quality and quantity. Datasets collected through this prize are meant to assist commercial and academic research and development efforts seeking to improve the accuracy of PV system modeling, and thus lower the risk associated with developing and operating those assets.

The competition is comprised of two stages:

  • Stage 1: Each competitor will submit time-series metadata on their system of choice along with at least one month of solar irradiance data from that system, which will be made publicly available. The top 25 competitors will win $5,000 and an invitation to compete in Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: The 25 winners from Stage 1 will upload their time-series datasets, which will be analyzed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and scored on data quality and quantity according to a pre-defined rubric. Grand prizes for 15 winning datasets will range from $80,000 to $130,000. All Stage 2 participants will also be invited to participate in the PV Fleet Performance Data Initiative.

The winning datasets and respective metadata will be shared on a publicly accessible database, so that researchers and other solar stakeholders can use it for model development, validation, and evaluation. Bonus prizes totaling up to $200,000 will be given to four prize winners who agree to update their datasets with new data on an annual basis for the next six years.

The Prize is open to U.S.-based PV system owners and entities authorized to share data from PV systems. Application materials for Stage 1 are due August 14Read the prize rules, register to compete, and register for a webinar about the prize on July 11.