Presenting the Winner of the Solar District Cup, and More!

Solar Energy Innovators Advance in Three Competitions

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Solar Energy Technologies Office 


College students and entrepreneurs across the country have been participating in U.S. Department of Energy competitions designed to power the clean energy revolution, and this week the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has some exciting updates to share.  

Solar District Cup

The public has spoken and Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska) is the winner of the Solar District Cup Class of 2021-2022! The Solar District Cup convenes college competitors to accelerate the transition to the clean energy future and reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used in a district energy system. The Creighton team designed a proposed distributed energy system for Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Their proposal included strong photovoltaics system design, tracker angular rotation schedule, distribution analysis, and financial analyses. Read about the other division winners.

American-Made Solar Desalination Prize

During the American-Made Earth Day Celebration, SETO announced that six semifinalists advanced in the Solar Desalination Prize Round 2 Teaming Contest. These teams will continue improving their technologies to desalinate water using solar-thermal energy. The semifinalists received $250,000 and a $100,000 technical assistance voucher to help design their systems in the next phase of the competition. 

  • Sunvapor (Pasadena, CA)
  • Planet A Energy (Pasadena, CA)
  • SolMem (Houston, TX)
  • Artic Solar (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Team Trident (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Winston Cone Optics (Merced, CA)

American-Made Solar Prize

SETO also announced twenty finalists in the Solar Prize Round 5 Set! Contest. The teams will advance to the final stage of the competition for innovation solutions to support U.S. solar manufacturing. Ten finalists received $100,000 as well as a $75,000 technical assistance voucher to advance hardware innovations, and 10 others received $60,000 to advance software innovations. Three teams (below in bold) also won a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion prize for software solutions that enable underserved communities to overcome systemic solar barriers.

Hardware Track

  • GISMO POWER TEAM (Sarasota, FL)
  • Leap Photovoltaic (San Francisco, CA)
  • Mana Monitoring MeDER (Lahaina, HI)
  • Origami Solar (Bend, OR)
  • Portable Solar (Miami, FL)
  • RCAM Technologies (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Smartville (Carlsbad, CA)
  • SolarSCADA (Denver, CO)
  • Sun Deck Solar (Roswell, GA)
  • TECSI Solar Inc. (El Sobrante, CA)

Software Track

  • Better Solar (Orlando, FL)
  • CleanFi (Los Angeles, CA)
  • illu (Sunnyvale, CA)
  • KiloNewton (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Midday Tech (San Francisco, CA)
  • Nimbus AI (Honolulu, HI)
  • Sandbox Solar (Fort Collins, CO)
  • SolarGrade (Carlsbad, CA)
  • Solar Stewards Marketplace (Atlanta, GA)
  • The Solar Equity Team (Boston, MA)

Congratulations to these impressive winners, and good luck to the teams moving forward!


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