Current American-Made Challenges

Last Updated September 20, 2022 | Annabelle Swift, Associate, CEBN

The American-Made Network is having a busy summer with multiple prizes to fast track the clean energy revolution! In our previous blog, Insights into the American-Made Program, we explained how the program awards cash prizes to innovators working on developing and commercializing cleantech through American-Made Challenges.

Looking for more information on what competitions are a good fit for you and what prizes are ongoing? See below for a summary of current prize competitions.

What American-Made Challenges are currently open?


  • Geothermal Geophone Prize: Innovations for seismic sensors in high-temperature geothermal environments can win cash prizes and vouchers to work with National Labs. Applications are due September 29. Get a recap of the DOE’s webinar on this prize and learn more about how CEBN is supporting potential applicants.
  • Solar Prize Round 6: The current round of the Solar Prize offers $4.1 million in total prizes designed to energize U.S. solar innovation. Round 6 includes additional bonuses for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Apply for the first phase of the Prize, the Ready! Contest by October 6.
  • The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar: This $100,000 prize competition will recognize best-practice community solar projects and programs. Nominate or apply by October 7.
  • Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC): The Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is offering $4 million in cash prizes for incubators. $150k is also available in technology-specific bonus prizes. Apply by October 25.
  • Hydropower Operations Optimization (H20s) Prize: $75,000 in cash prizes are available for innovations to employ modeling, data analytics, and machine learning to optimize hydropower in grid scheduling. Applications for Phase 3 are due November 3.
  • Perovskite Startup Prize: Teams are currently competing in this $3 million prize competition, which was designed to accelerate the development and manufacturing of perovskite solar cells. The current Countdown Contest closes on November 3.
  • SolarAPP+ Prize: Prizes of $15,000 will be awarded to local governments that successfully adopt or pilot SolarAPP+ in about five months. Apply by November 4 to participate.
  • CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize: This $4.5 million prize supports the development and manufacturing of breakthrough conductivity-enhanced materials. Stage 2 applications are due December 1.
  • Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize: $1.5 million in prizes to help community coalitions—made up of nonprofits, city governments, school systems, and other community organizations—come together to develop a strategy to address a local clean energy opportunity or inequity. New and existing coalitions should apply to Phase I by December 7. Book CEBN’s office hours to learn more about this opportunity.

What prizes are ongoing?

  • Lighting Prize (L-Prize): This $12.2 million competition will advance LED lighting and advanced lighting system development. The intent to submit for the Prototype Phase is due January 13, with applications due May 1, 2023.
  • EnergyTech University Prize: Collegiate competitors can compete for $250k in prizes by developing a business plan for high-potential energy technologies. Applications are open through January 31, 2023
  • Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize Phase 2: Six teams from Phase 1 will receive a share of a $1.5 million prize pool to continue activities that advance inclusive energy innovation. Applications for Phase 2 are due May 2023.
  • Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize: This prize seeks to de-risk and increase market viability for direct lithium extraction from geothermal brines. Winners of Phase 1 and 2 can apply for Phase 3 Fabricate and Test by July 7, 2023.
  • Solar Desalination Prize: Rounds 1 and 2 are open to existing competitors. Learn more about the semi-finalists in CEBN’s feature post.

How can I get involved with the American-Made Network?

The American-Made Network includes 250+ accelerators, incubators, universities, non-profits, testing and industrial facilities, and national labs. These organizations leverage their expertise to help prize participants with their applications—or form valuable partnerships—and are referred to as “Connectors” or “Power Connectors” (in the case of groups that work more closely with NREL to support the prizes). CEBN is proud to serve as a Power Connector, recruiting and supporting prize applicants.

  • Become a Connector: Any organizations interested in becoming part of the American-Made Network can start by creating an account within the American-Made Network.
  • Become a Power Connector: Applications are not currently open for new Power Connectors. We encourage you to sign up for the mailing list below to be notified when that application opens.
  • Stay updated on future American-Made Challenges by joining the mailing list.


Read our summary post Insight into the American-Made Program  to learn more, and explore the Cleantech Funding Database for other current and ongoing funding opportunities to support your work.