Fraunhofer TechBridge launches SunRISE Challenge II in partnership with DSM and Greentown Labs, seeking innovations in solar energy


Fraunhofer TechBridge is now accepting applications for SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II, in partnership with Royal DSM and Greentown Labs. The SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II is seeking solutions to increase the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, resulting in a lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and broader deployment of affordable PV.  For solar energy to reach grid parity and become cost competitive with fossil fuel-based generation on a global scale, it is necessary to reduce the LCOE of solar PV.

The first SunRISE Challenge was conducted in 2016 and five early-stage companies were selected as winners to receive awards for a 6-month structured startup acceleration program at Greentown Labs and technical validation services from Fraunhofer CSE, culminating in venturing investments by DSM Venturing in two awardees – QD Solar and WattGlass – and several ongoing collaborations with DSM. Based on the success of the first SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, DSM, Fraunhofer TechBridge and Greentown Labs are seeking further innovative solutions that will reduce the LCOE for PV systems.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Novel PV cell and module materials;
  • Data analytics and/or advanced sensors; and
  • “Retrofit” solutions that boost the power output and/or reduce operation and maintenance costs of PV modules already installed in the field.


Winning applicants will be eligible for one or more of the following awards:

  • Up to $25,000 in technical validation services from the world-renowned Fraunhofer R&D network;
  • Greentown Launch, a 6-month structured acceleration program for solar startups at Greentown Labs, including valuable tools, products, and services;
  • Partnership and/or a project with DSM; and
  • Venture investment from DSM.


Applicants will be evaluated based on the potential impact of their solution, with a key parameter being LCOE and time to market.

Proposals are due by March 15, 2017 at: Awardees’ intellectual property is fully protected throughout the process.

About Fraunhofer TechBridge and the Challenge Partners

Launched at Fraunhofer CSE in 2010, the Fraunhofer TechBridge program identifies and de-risks promising technologies to solve industry challenges. By performing targeted technical searches and conducting validation and demonstration work, TechBridge evaluates and prepares innovative early-stage products for investors and industry.

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE is a non-profit applied research and development laboratory dedicated to the commercialization of clean energy technologies for the benefit of society. With a focus on building energy technologies, solar photovoltaics, and distributed electrical energy systems, Fraunhofer CSE engages in collaborative research with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. Fraunhofer CSE is one of seven centers of Fraunhofer USA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit contract R&D organization, a subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest contract R&D organization.

DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living. ™ Royal DSM is a global, science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in life sciences and materials sciences, DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders simultaneously. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 25,000 employees. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext. More information can be found at

Greentown Labs is a community of bold, passionate entrepreneurs creating game-changing energy technologies that transform the way we live, work, and play. Located in Somerville, MA, Greentown Labs is the largest cleantech incubator in the nation, operating a 40,000 sq. ft. facility that enables entrepreneurs to solve today’s biggest energy and environmental problems. Greentown Labs hosts a constant stream of events and programs for the cleantech community and tours more than 10,000 visitors from around the world each year. Its mission is to enable a vibrant community of entrepreneurs to realize their visions by providing access to the resources, labs and funding they need to thrive. For more information, please visit or follow the incubator on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.