Insight Into the American-Made Program

April 22, 2022 | Allie Judge & Annabelle Swift, Associates

Happy Earth Day!

In conjunction with the American-Made Earth Day Celebration, CEBN is featuring this exciting federal program that awards cash prizes to help U.S. innovators develop new clean energy technologies.

What is the American-Made program?

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the American-Made program supports innovation through prizes, training, teaming, mentoring, and vouchers to test technologies at the DOE’s national labs and private sector facilities. To date, this program has provided over 300 teams with more than $100 million in prizes and team support.

The program centers on the American-Made Challenges (AMC), a series of cash prizes and competitions that fund innovators who are leading the clean energy transition in America. The program is also home to the American-Made Network, an ecosystem of more than 250 organizations across the nation offering services to support prize participants.

What are the American-Made Challenges?

The American-Made Challenges are specific prize competitions to empower clean energy leaders to innovate strategies to mitigate climate change. They provide non-dilutive cash awards and other sources of support. The prizes are extremely accessible: they are open to very early-stage concepts, and the application process is very straightforward and simple.

Most of these prizes focus on technology innovations; however, the AMC program recently offered a new competition called the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize to fund organizations for activities to support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. You can find all the ongoing and past challenges on the AMC website.

How can I tap into 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.

American-Made Network Map

Innovators and potential Connectors alike can start by creating an account within the American-Made Network. From there, you can access the Matching Tool, which specifically pairs you with potential supporters and collaborators. This is a great way to find partners for upcoming prizes and organizations with specific resources to support clean energy companies.

The American-Made Network also has a map available with all the Connectors across the country. Explore the landscape of resources and prizes, and stay updated on future American-Made Challenges by joining the mailing list or checking CEBN’s funding database.


To discover more federal programs, take a look at the other entries in our Insight into Federal Programs series, which features deep dives on existing programs that can help you build your business or organization.