Author: US DOE Staff    Published: 1/9/2024       EERE

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

Solar Energy Technologies Office

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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced five winners of the American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize, a 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 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.

In the second and final stage of the prize, data owners submitted their entire datasets. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analyzed more than 4 billion performance data points and scored the datasets according to a pre-defined rubric to select the following winners:

Grand Prize Winners

  • Southern Power Company (Large PV System): $130,000
  • Silicon Ranch Corporation (Medium PV System): $80,000

Runner-Up Winners

  • Silicon Ranch Corporation (Large PV System): $50,000
  • Island Way Technology, LLC (Medium PV System): $30,000
  • Wexus Technologies Inc. (Medium PV System): $30,000

The five winning datasets will be shared with their respective metadata through NREL’s publicly accessible database, Open Energy Data Initiative (OEDI), so researchers and other solar stakeholders can readily utilize the data for model development, validation, and evaluation. Register for Part One of NREL and SETO’s Virtual Tutorial series on March 13, which will include an introduction to the datasets, a demonstration on how to access the data, and a look ahead at the lab tools that will be presented in Parts Two and Three. Stay tuned for more information on this tutorial series.

In addition to today’s prizes, four of the winners will be offered bonus prizes in exchange for annual updates to their datasets over the next six years. Bonus prize winners could receive up to $40,000 for medium systems and $60,000 for large systems.

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. All Stage 2 participants were invited to participate in the initiative. Learn more about the PV Fleet Performance Data Initiative’s findings and achievements.

Check out other SETO prize competitions and upcoming solar events.