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SunShot Prize: The Race to 7-Day Solar

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar aims to motivate local governments, communities, solar companies and electric utilities to collaborate towards improving the “going solar” experience from permit to plug-in for all Americans. This competition offers a total of $10 million in cash awards to the best teams that bring process certainty and reduce the permit to plug-in time from current durations to a swift seven days for small PV systems (≤100 kW) or seven weeks for large systems (≤1 MW). SunShot will provide seed funding to help support up to 20 teams during a set 18-month performance period that begins in September 2015.

Goal and Prizes

Reduce permit-to-plug-in times towards seven days for PV systems ≤100kW (small system contest) or seven weeks for PV systems ≤1 MW (large system contest) and win cash prizes totaling $10 million.


Five teams were selected to participate in the SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar contest – Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance, Sunrun, The Solar Auditor, The Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Team, and Midwestern Solar. Learn more about how each plans to dramatically reduce the time it takes for consumers to “go solar.”

Challenge and Rules

Install a number of PV systems time efficiently during a set 18-month period that aggregates to minimum 10 MW (small system contest) or 15 MW (large system contest) with best scores for repeatability, time performance and replicability. Read the rules to learn about these performance metrics.


1. SunShot will award cash prizes (up to $100k) for top 20 teams to compete and improve. 
2. Teams deploy PV systems and accumulate points based on performance during a set18-month period starting in September 2015 and ending in March 2017.
3. Teams with highest total points above a minimum threshold win total of $8 million in grand prizes. The first place and second place grand prizes are $3 million and $1 million in each of the two contests.


Performance Period Begins: September 22, 2015
First Progress Report Due: January 19, 2016
Second Progress Report Due: March 21, 2016
Announcement of Change Champions: April 29, 2016
Performance Period Ends:  March 17, 2017
Performance Application Due:  April 28, 2017
Announcements of Competition Prize Winners June 26, 2017