Author: US DOE Staff     Published: 7/17/2023    EERE

Solar Energy Technologies Office

CPA prize R2

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) announced the second round of the American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize: Accessing Capital to Deploy Equitable Community Solar. This $10 million prize competition is designed to fast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers, co-developers, community organizations, local governments, and Tribal organizations to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple successful community solar projects. 

Competitors will participate in three phases of competition—Ready!, Set!, and Grow!—with up to 25 winners selected in each round. Individually, each competitor can win up to $400,000 over the course of the prize. 

Community solar is a form of solar energy generation that allows all community members to access the meaningful benefits of renewable energy, particularly those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, and those for whom traditional rooftop solar is unavailable.    

The prize is a critical component of the Community Power Accelerator, a network of developers, investors, philanthropists, and community-based organizations that works together to ensure equitable community solar projects are adequately financed and deployed.  

These cash prizes will enable mission-aligned developers and other groups to expand their staff and operations, and to design and deploy multiple community solar projects that use replicable business models and prioritize equitable access. These projects and models will expand community solar and drive new capital to community solar across the country. 

In addition to earning cash prizes, winners will participate in a learning lab, and obtain technical assistance to further scope out their project portfolios to get them ready for financing. Through this process, the teams will develop skills critical to deploying hundreds of megawatts of equitable community solar, which support NCSP’s goal of 20 gigawatts by 2025.  

The deadline to apply for the Ready! contest is October 4, 2023.  

Register for one of the informational webinars on August 8 at 3 p.m. ET or September 19 at 3 p.m. ET to hear more about the prize program.  

Learn more about this prize and other open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.