New $1m SunShot program launched

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) SunShot Initiative has launched another competition aiming to cut the non-hardware ‘soft costs’ of solar installation.

The SunShot Catalyst Program will award cash prizes of up to $100,000 for five winning teams that successfully develop solutions to pressing problems from the U.S. solar industry using existing datasets, tools, capabilities and resources.

A total prize fund of $1 million will be shared out across the four steps of the Catalyst program.

In the initial ‘ideation’ round – until June 20 – five winners who outline pressing problems in U.S. solar which are subsequently addressed by problem-solving teams will receive $1,000 each.

Up to 20 winning teams who opt to tackle the problem statements coming out of the first round will outline their suggested solutions between July 24 and August 13 before progressing to the third round, which offers the chance to access $25,000 worth of services through a crowd-centric performance-based software development platform, up to December 18.

The top five solutions to come out of that phase of the program will receive cash prizes of up to $100,000 in two tranches – on February 9 and after a six-month progress review in mid-September 2015 – to develop prototypes.