Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the 10 teams selected to advance to the final phase of the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize Round 3. SETO also announced the launch of Round 4. Each team will receive $100,000 in cash, plus $75,000 in vouchers to redeem at DOE’s National Laboratories and other partner facilities. The finalists are:
- Enertronics, Inc. (Blacksburg, VA): This team is developing a high-voltage, direct current (DC) power optimizer small enough to be built into a module’s junction box.
- infiniRel Corporation (Santa Cruz, CA): This team developed a patented hardware/software system that monitors solar inverters while they’re operating to detect component deterioration as well as software control issues.
- Maxout Renewables (Livermore, CA): This team developed a cost-effective system that turns a residential solar installation into a microgrid that can keep power on during a grid outage.
- Pursuit Solar, LLC (Denver, NC): This team’s passive solar tracker enables panels to capture more solar energy without motors, controls, or external power. A small concentrating mirror system heats paraffin wax, which rotates the panels to track the sun when they’re properly positioned.
- Renu Robotics Corporation (San Antonio, TX): This team is developing an autonomous electric lawnmower for utility-scale solar power plants that can maintain hundreds of acres a month without human interaction.
- Shine Technologies, LLC (Portland, OR): This team is developing a small, lightweight, low-cost PV system with battery storage that can be stockpiled and deployed for emergency disaster relief.
- TrackerSled (Chicago, IL): This team is developing a movable single-axis tracker solar array for farms that can be towed around rotating crop fields on its pontoon skis. The array’s mobility will help farmers rotate their cash crop and cover crop fields, improving soil health, income, and power generation.
- Uplift Solar Corp. (Las Vegas, NV): This team is developing a chip that is both a direct-current converter and a maximum power point tracker that can be embedded in a module. It will have a microprocessor that enables power line communication, ensuring module compliance with code updates.
- Verify Energy Inc. (Berkeley, CA): This team is developing a self-powered, easily installable, cellular data gateway to extract photovoltaic (PV) plant performance data from commercial and industrial scale PV plants.
- Wattch, Inc. (Atlanta, GA): This team combines cost-effective hardware with secure, scalable software to deliver insights and increase operational efficiency for commercial and industrial PV plants. This will result in predictive maintenance schedules that lower downtime, improve remote and automated diagnostics, and better model a plant’s lifetime energy yield.
Later this fall, the finalists will present their proofs of concept during a live demo day. There, two winners will be selected to receive $500,000 in cash and up to $75,000 in vouchers to test and validate their prototypes. Read the SETO newsletters for updates on the final Round 3 demo day, and learn more about the American-Made Solar Prize.
Submissions for Round 4 of the competition are due October 8, 2020.
The prize is part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges, a series of prizes that incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.