U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftops
SunShot Prize Workshop on April 10
The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering hosted the event, which was held at CNSE's Albany Nanotech Complex in Albany, New York. Learn more about the speakers and presentations.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the SunShot Prize aims to spur low-cost rooftop solar installations across the nation. This competition offers a total of up to $10 million in cash awards to the first three teams that repeatedly demonstrate an average of $1 per watt (W) for non-hardware costs such as permitting, interconnection, and inspection.
Despite unprecedented cost reductions for solar hardware over recent years, as much as 50% of the total cost for residential and small-commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems is related to the price to plug in. Enabling dramatic reductions in the non-hardware costs—or "soft costs"—of solar is now the greatest challenge to achieving cost-competitive solar by 2020.
The SunShot Prize directs the efforts of solar innovators at solving the soft cost challenge. Winning teams will successfully deploy 5,000 small-scale (2–15 kilowatt) rooftop PV systems with non-hardware costs averaging $1/W during Phase I of the competition. Phase II, which is intended to assess business sustainability of the winning teams, calls for the installation of an additional 1,000 qualifying systems.
Learn more about the timeline, how to get started, competition rules, and SunShot Prize Webinar series.
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Illustration of a circular race track with runners representing a timeline of key events.
- 09-12-2012: Registration Opens
- 12-31-2012: Phase I Submission Period Opens
- 10-31-2014: Registration Closes at 5 PM ET
- 12-31-2014: Phase I Submission Deadline
- Summer 2015: Expected Announcement of Phase I Winners
- Summer 2016: Expected Announcement of Phase II Winners
Interested teams can now register to participate and begin tracking their installations. In order to officially qualify for participation in Phase I, teams must receive concept paper assessment letters from DOE during the pre-submission period. The sooner a team registers, the sooner they can start making progress toward the installation goal.
The SunShot Prize competition rules explain, in detail, how to become a registered participant, install qualifying PV systems, and submit results for official review. Potential participants are encouraged to review this document, as well as the frequently asked questions, and submit any outstanding questions. The questions are also available for download.
By setting an ambitious target, the SunShot Prize aims to spur novel public-private partnerships, original business models, and innovative approaches. By breaking a significant price barrier, the winners will demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for millions of American families and businesses.
SunShot Prize Webinars
The SunShot Prize Webinar series targets solar innovators who would like to participate in the SunShot Prize competition. The following two webinars are available.
SunShot Prize Webinar #1: Overview of the SunShot Prize
Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 2–3 p.m. EDT
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Program provides an introduction to the SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftops in this webinar. This competition offers a total of up to $10 million in cash awards to the first three teams that repeatedly demonstrate an average of $1/watt for non-hardware costs such as permitting, interconnection, and inspection. In this interactive webinar, DOE provides a general overview of the SunShot Prize, including a Q&A session to answer some frequently asked questions. The webinar covers a wide range of topics including:
- Why a SunShot Prize?
- What are the eligibility requirements?
- What are the installation specifications?
- How can I sign up and participate?
- How will DOE determine the winners?
In addition to the webinar slides, a transcript of the audio is available.
SunShot Prize Webinar #2: Innovate to Win
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 12–1 p.m. MDT
The SunShot Prize: Race to the Rooftops aims to spur low-cost rooftop solar installations across the nation. In this webinar, the DOE SunShot Program sheds light on some key business strategies to help local installers rethink their business models to compete for the SunShot Prize. The competitive nature of today's solar industry offers unique opportunities for small installers to think big, create partnerships, and apply new strategies to become industry leaders.
In addition to the webinar below, a transcript of the audio is available.