Win funding and access to grow your concept in this DOE American innovation competition

Intersolar 2018 coverage (42)

Elaine Ulrich, Senior Advisor, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, explains the contest at Intersolar 2018 in San Francisco last week.

There are more effective ways for the government to boost U.S.-based innovation and manufacturing without tariffs. Example: The Department of Energy’s American Made Challenge Solar Prize competition is awarding $3 million in prizes as well as support from the DOE’s robust U.S.-based network to help build business plans, prototypes and funding sources for labs and innovators. Additional cash prizes are then awarded to the most viable concepts.

“What role does DOE want to have? To focus on early stage research and forge strong partnerships with the private sector,” said Elaine Ulrich, Senior Advisor, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, at Intersolar 2018 in San Francisco last week. “We know this is the cornerstone of our success, so a new way we speed innovation is through prize competitions.”

And speed it, it does. This isn’t a laborious grant application process, but a series of contests. Record a 90 second video with a strong pitch and answer four questions: What’s the problem? What’s the solution? Who is on the team? What’s the plan?

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How to win

Participants must identify an impactful solution that addresses critical challenges related to American solar competitiveness, create a proof of concept, and secure a committed partner to test a prototype. Competitors will also participate in demo days, where they will pitch their idea to a team of expert reviewers, who will evaluate competitors based on the quality of their solution and the progress made during the contest period.

The $3 million in funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be distributed through a series of three contests:

Ready! Contest (up to $50,000 prize per winner): Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in America’s solar industry.

Set! Contest (up to $200,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.

Go! Contest ($500,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.

“Within six months, you could have $750,000 in cash and $150,000 in facility vouchers and tapped into a full network,” Ulrich said. “This is just the first, of hopefully many of these contests.”

Participants in this program can be entrepreneurial individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners, or researchers at a national laboratory, as long as they are based in the U.S. and have the desire to bring an impactful solution to advance U.S. solar competitiveness.

Quit reading this and send in your video. Deadline is Oct. 5.

— Solar Builder magazine

ARCPANEL Structural Insulated Panels Bring Lithgow’s JM Robinson Aquatic Centre to Life – Architecture and Design


Architecture and Design

ARCPANEL Structural Insulated Panels Bring Lithgow's JM Robinson Aquatic Centre to Life
Architecture and Design
Tucked away in Lithgow, a cosy city in the scenic Central Tablelands of NSW, the JM Robinson Aquatic Centre is an exemplar of the value of sustainable design. In late 2014 and early 2015, Facility Design Group undertook a major, $6.2 million overhaul

NASA building topped with 120-kW solar system, featuring Mission Solar Energy panels

Mission Solar Energy

A roof top PV system featuring Mission Solar Energy panels was installed atop one of NASA’s newest buildings at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Over the years, NASA has made an effort to replace and revitalize many of the pre-Apollo era facilities at Marshall Space Flight Center. These new buildings were designed to be more technologically advanced and create a smaller footprint.

“We are pleased that NASA has chosen to incorporate solar in its new building construction plans at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Our team is proud to design, engineer and assemble our solar panels in the U.S. and deploying our products to projects like this gives us great pride,” said Jae Yang, President & CEO of Mission Solar Energy.

Hannah Solar Government Services (HSGS) headquartered in Charleston, SC, was selected by Madison Electric in 2017 to design, engineer and install NASA’s 120 kilowatt (kW) solar array, which is identical to the solar array HSGS installed for NASA in 2013. This solar array contains more than 370 Mission Solar Energy MSE MONO 72 solar panels, a high-power solar module ideal for commercial and industrial applications.

“We are veterans proud to continue serving our country and proud to continue providing solar energy generation for NASA,” said Retired COL Dave McNeil, President & CEO of Hannah Solar Government Solutions.

— Solar Builder magazine

NASA building topped with 120-kW solar system, featuring Mission Solar Energy panels

Mission Solar Energy

A roof top PV system featuring Mission Solar Energy panels was installed atop one of NASA’s newest buildings at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Over the years, NASA has made an effort to replace and revitalize many of the pre-Apollo era facilities at Marshall Space Flight Center. These new buildings were designed to be more technologically advanced and create a smaller footprint.

“We are pleased that NASA has chosen to incorporate solar in its new building construction plans at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Our team is proud to design, engineer and assemble our solar panels in the U.S. and deploying our products to projects like this gives us great pride,” said Jae Yang, President & CEO of Mission Solar Energy.

Hannah Solar Government Services (HSGS) headquartered in Charleston, SC, was selected by Madison Electric in 2017 to design, engineer and install NASA’s 120 kilowatt (kW) solar array, which is identical to the solar array HSGS installed for NASA in 2013. This solar array contains more than 370 Mission Solar Energy MSE MONO 72 solar panels, a high-power solar module ideal for commercial and industrial applications.

“We are veterans proud to continue serving our country and proud to continue providing solar energy generation for NASA,” said Retired COL Dave McNeil, President & CEO of Hannah Solar Government Solutions.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar canopy installed in just five days, ready for upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Quest Renewables

Quest Renewables solar canopy can be assembled at ground level.

Interconnection Systems, Inc. (ISI), in partnership with Quest Renewables, completed the installation of a 54.6-kW QuadPod solar canopy system at the Harley-Davidson Rally Point Plaza in Sturgis SD in just five days in June. The plaza is used as a central gathering place during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and for numerous public events during the year. The power generated by the system will offset energy used by the building that houses the Sturgis Public Library and City Hall.

Liz Wunderlich, P.E., City Engineer for Sturgis, had this to say about the construction and the system, “The Harley-Davidson Rally Point is an extremely important public space for the City of Sturgis. Both Quest and ISI did a marvelous job incorporating the new black powder coated canopy into the aesthetic aspect of the Plaza, and were respectful of property, events and of residents. Construction even took a break while the city had a parade going by during fabrication. I am definitely pleased with ISI, Quest and the finished canopy.”

RELATED: Solar carport developers find low-cost opportunity despite the tariffs

The 54.6-kW system features the QuadPod double cantilever system from Quest Renewables. 90% of QuadPod’s construction takes place on the ground, making construction three times faster. After on-the-ground assembly, panel placement, inverter mounting, wiring and lighting, the canopy units are lifted by crane for final attachment, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety.

Nate Conaway, Project Manager of Interconnection Systems, said of the solar industry, “[It] now employs more people than the oil industry.” He also said, “[The solar industry] is an industry that’s not going to go away.”

— Solar Builder magazine