Press Release: CEBN Wins DOE Contract to Support Energy Innovation Programs

December 2, 2020 | Andy Barnes, Director of Policy & Communications


December 2, 2020


Andy Barnes,

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has awarded a subcontract to the Clean Energy Business Network to serve as a “Power Connector” to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) American-Made Challenges program.

Visit the American-Made Challenges website to learn more about upcoming contests. Deadlines approaching in 2021 include Groundbreaking Hydro (1/31/21), Ocean Observing (2/16/21), Geothermal Manufacturing (2/17/21), and E-ROBOT (5/12/21). DOE is also soliciting letters of intent (due 1/4/21) for Small Business Innovation Research grants to support innovative solar technologies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –With a three-year subcontract awarded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in November 2020, the Clean Energy Business Network joins five cleantech innovation organizations serving in the Power Connector role to support energy innovation programs at the Energy Department. CEBN President Lynn Abramson provided the following comments:

“We are thrilled to be selected as a Power Connector to support the American-Made Challenges program. The CEBN has long championed the importance of federal investment and public-private partnerships to support energy innovation. In this vein, we’re excited to collaborate with the AMC program administrators, other Power Connectors, and the organizations across the American-Made Network to strengthen the cleantech innovation ecosystem.”

The CEBN will receive up to $100,000 in funding annually for three years through NREL to support the American-Made Challenges (AMC) competition. AMC is a series of prize competitions established by DOE and administered by NREL. Its mission is to lower the barriers U.S.-based innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale and accelerate the development of new clean energy technologies.

The program uses a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country. Competitors progress through a series of three or more prize contests, each of which is around four months in duration. Winners at each stage receive cash prizes and vouchers for support at national labs and other test facilities, with a continually narrowing field and growing amount of support. In addition to recruiting and advising teams for the AMC competitions, CEBN will provide support on other DOE energy innovation programs such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

Abramson added, “This will be a fantastic opportunity to further extend our reach into the innovation community. From a young startup organization established just three years ago to now winning a government contract, we are really thrilled by how much we have grown and accomplished. We look forward to working with our members and partners to attract more applicants to these prizes and support participants at each stage of the competition.”

CEBN will support AMC and other energy innovation programs through the following avenues:

1. CEBN will use its extensive experience in event management and deep network of partners to convene virtual (and eventually, in-person) demo days, recruitment events, teaming workshops, and attendance at conferences throughout the U.S. to promote AMC prizes.

2. CEBN will leverage its communications resources to promote AMC prizes to prospective competitors, partners, and investors. Additionally, CEBN will produce case studies about prize winners and/or Q&A with leaders involved in the program (e.g., other Connectors or technical resource providers) to promote awareness about the prizes.

3. CEBN will enhance collaborations with other Connectors, partners, and subcontractors to provide business and mentorship expertise to strengthen business models.


CEBN recently supported the American-Made Solar Prize initiative and promoted the launch of the fourth iteration of the prize, winning recognition with 2nd place in the Connectors’ ACCELerator Challenge for this work.

CEBN staff will focus Q4 2020 activities towards promoting the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s recent SBIR solicitation, beginning with a webinar on December 11.


CEBN is the small business voice for the clean energy economy, working to enhance opportunities for clean energy providers through policy support, market and technology education, and business development assistance.