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Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is designed to accelerate the growth of the domestic perovskite industry.

Department of Energy-National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $3,000,000.00
Type of Challenge: Ideas, Technology demonstration and hardware, Business plans, Scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)
Submission Start: 03/25/2021 01:00 PM ET
Submission End: 03/31/2022 05:00 PM ET

Description

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials. Through two contests, established perovskite researchers will launch a company and move toward commercialization in under a year.

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Perovskite Startup Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering maker spaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, the Network is primed to assist entrepreneurs in bringing perovskite-focused concepts to market.

Prize Contests

The Perovskite Startup Prize consists of two consecutive contests that accelerate efforts to develop new, innovative perovskite solar companies with the potential to manufacture commercially viable products in the United States. The best-performing competitors in the Countdown Contest are awarded with cash prizes and are eligible to compete in the Lift-off Contest. This cycle of contests repeats until 2-3 final winners are selected for successfully completing the challenge.

Key Dates

Below is a timeline of tentative submission deadlines for each quarter (All dates subject to change).

  • March 25, 2021, 1:00 PM ET: Open for Countdown Submission
  • June 30, 2021, 5:00 PM ET: Countdown Submission Deadline #1
  • September 30, 2021, 5:00 PM ET:
    • Countdown Submission Deadline #2
    • Liftoff Submission Deadline #1 (Liftoff– Must have won Countdown #2)
  • Jan. 4, 2022, 5:00 PM ET:
    • Countdown Submission Deadline #3
    • Liftoff Submission Deadline #2 (Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1 or #2)
  • March 31, 2022, 5:00 PM ET: Liftoff Submission Deadline #4 (Liftoff – Must have won Countdown #1, #2, #3, or #4)

Prizes

Total Cash Prize Pool

The total prize pool for these two contests is $3 million. Winners will receive up to $700,000 in cash prizes and $100,000 in technical support vouchers.

Prize Breakdown

The Two Contests:

  1. Countdown Contest – This contest will reward world-class teams, with high-quality perovskite technology platforms, that form new companies with a clear and credible plan to resolve critical business and technical risks. Only new, for-profit companies—whose date of incorporation is within six months prior to the announcement of this competition or any time after the announcement of the competition—are eligible to compete. DOE expects to select approximately six to nine companies that will receive $200,000 in cash and become eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest. It is not expected that all winners will be selected in the first open-application period; the Countdown Contest has a rolling application period with quarterly submission deadlines. Participant submissions will be reviewed quarterly by a panel of expert reviewers from industry, the national laboratories, and the government. Participants who are not selected will be given feedback and encouraged to resubmit in future open-application periods. The DOE will announce when the Countdown Contest is over.
  2. Liftoff Contest – This contest will reward the achievement of substantial technical progress toward goals set in the Countdown Contest, while simultaneously establishing the critical business and research infrastructure the company will need to be successful. Only winners of the Countdown Contest may compete in the Liftoff Contest. Winners of the Countdown Contest are eligible to apply to the Liftoff Contest within 12 months of winning the Countdown prize. Over the length of this prize competition, DOE expects to select approximately two to three companies that will receive $500,000 in cash and $100,000 in vouchers redeemable at national laboratories and qualified service providers. Liftoff Contest competitors who do not win on their first attempt will have one more opportunity to apply to compete in the Liftoff Contest within 15 months of winning the Countdown prize. Competitors who are not selected twice or are outside of these time windows will not be eligible to compete for the Liftoff prize. The Liftoff Contest will end when the prize pool is exhausted, regardless of whether all Countdown winners have applied to enter the Liftoff Contest. Liftoff Contest submissions will be reviewed quarterly by a panel of expert reviewers from industry, the national laboratories, and the government.

Rules

The Official Rules can be found here.

Eligibility Requirements

COUNTDOWN CONTEST

  • Competitors must be a for-profit business entity, such as a corporation or other organization that is formed in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control. Only for-profit companies incorporated within six (6) months prior to the announcement of this competition or any time after the announcement of this competition are eligible to compete. Individuals or groups of individuals are not eligible to compete. A for-profit business entity is eligible to compete only if the registered competitor is an employee or owner of that business.
    • To verify the competitor’s company eligibility, proof of incorporation must be provided in the submission, which includes at a minimum the company name, in which state the company is incorporated, and the incorporation date. DOE and NREL will not provide a preliminary review. Examples of documents expected to contain this information include, the articles of incorporation for a company or a screenshot of the Secretary of State’s website from the appropriate state where the company is listed.
  • Competitors may submit a maximum of two (2) submissions per quarterly application period. If more than two submissions are received from a single competitor or team for a quarterly application period, only the two most recent submissions will be considered.
  • Competitors not selected as winners of a particular Countdown Contest review cycle are eligible to submit updated submission packages in subsequent open-application periods for the Countdown Contest.

LIFTOFF CONTEST

  • Only business entities that won the Countdown Contest may apply to compete in the Liftoff Contest. The size and makeup of the team can change from Countdown.
  • If a competitor completes a submission package to the Liftoff Contest and is not selected, they are eligible to submit one more time to a future Liftoff round. Competitors who are not selected two times are no longer eligible to compete to win the Liftoff Contest.
  • Winners of the Countdown Contest are eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest for only 12 months after winning Countdown. A three-month extension to 15 months will be allowed if all three of the following conditions are true:
    • The competitor has already applied to compete in the Liftoff Contest once
    • The competitor competed in but did not win the Liftoff Contest
    • The competitor is attempting to submit a second application to compete in the Liftoff Contest.

Please the official rules for additional eligibility requirements.

Judging Criteria

  • The proposed solution is relevant to the development of perovskite-based photovoltaics.
  • The proposed solution represents an innovation that will utilize or introduce a compelling manufacturing technology for perovskite-based photovoltaic devices to the industry.
  • The proposed solution incorporates perovskite materials as a key component of the photovoltaic device.
  • The proposed perovskite technology is being developed by a private entity incorporated in the United States within six months prior to the announcement of this competition or any time after the announcement of this competition and maintains a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control.
  • The majority of activities that are described in and support the submission package are performed in the United States.
  • The proposed solution is not dependent on new, pending, or proposed federal, state, or local government legislation, resolutions, appropriations, measures, or policies.
  • The proposed solution does not involve the lobbying of any federal, state, or local government office.
  • The proposed solution is based on fundamental technical principles and is consistent with a basic understanding of the U.S. market economy.
  • Submission content sufficiently confirms the competitor’s intent to commercialize early-stage technology and develop a viable U.S.-based manufacturing business.

How To Enter

Just click the “Solve this Challenge” button on https://www.herox.com/perovskiteprize and follow the instructions to complete your registration.

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email