American-Made Solar Prize Names Round One Finalists

Ten teams selected to advance innovative solar solutions from proof of concept stage to prototype refinement and pilot testing

Last week, Greentown Labs hosted the national Demo Day for the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition aimed at revitalizing U.S. solar manufacturing, administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). At the conclusion of the event, NREL, the Department of Energy, and a panel of industry experts who served as Demo Day judges, selected ten teams as finalists in Round 1 of the American-Made Solar Prize. The teams, many of which received guidance and expertise from the Greentown Labs network and community, represent a range of innovations including cell and device-related concepts as well as module and application hardware

“Greentown Labs was proud to host the American Made Solar Prize Set! Demo Day and we’re so impressed by the semi-finalists’ presentations! Congratulations to all 20 semi-finalists for making it this far and best of luck to the finalists as they move on to the next stage,” said Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with NREL and the Department of Energy to support solar innovation!”

Each team will receive $100,000 for advancing beyond the second phase of the competition, the Set! Contest, and is now eligible to proceed to the final phase of the competition, the Go! Contest, for an additional $500,000 in cash prizes awarded to up to two winning teams this fall.

The finalists in the Set! Contest include:

  1. BREK Electronics Corp. is developing transformative, silicon-carbide-based composite architectures for string inverters.
  2. Catalyst is accelerating rooftop solar by offering a cost-effective plug-in “solar appliance” that simplifies rooftop solar installation and expedites project payback.
  3. Crystal Sonic is using a novel wafering technology to dramatically reduce substrate cost and improve reuse for gallium arsenide-based solar cells.
  4. Imagen is introducing an efficient, compact, next-generation multi-port Power Electronics Systems for revolutionizing the future of PV solar and EV applications.
  5. Omnisole is developing a revolutionary ballasted racking system that greatly reduces installation time, with no roof penetrations, and can be used on steep roofs.
  6. Phase3 Photovoltaics is designing a novel power integration system that enables PV systems to be integrated on manufactured homes during the manufacturing process.
  7. Solar Guardian is creating a low-cost device that prevents electrical fires in photovoltaic modules, enabling safer and lower cost solar system installations.
  8. Solar Inventions is creating a new cost-effective photovoltaic cell design that increases power, improves shading response, decreases hotspot risks, and produces a more reliable module.
  9. Solar SEED is creating innovative voltage controller hardware to offer flexible and scalable basic energy access and emergency backup power for a new generation of the solar market.
  10. Tandem PV is creating an innovative photovoltaics tandem solar cell prototype using a combination of high-efficiency perovskite material plus silicon in a tandem solar cell.


The finalists were chosen by a panel of expert judges at the demonstration day event at Greentown Labs from 20 teams, a subset of the original pool of more than 150 submissions in Round 1. They took steps to develop an innovative idea or provided a solution that addresses a critical need for the solar industry and substantially advanced their technology solutions toward a viable and promising proof of product.

In addition to cash prizes from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, winners of the Set! and Go! Contests will receive as much as $75,000 in vouchers that may be redeemed at national laboratories and qualified fabrication facilities to further develop their ideas.

The American-Made Solar Prize is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.