Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Creating the Future of Solar Energy, Today

November 4, 2014

You are here

SunShot Catalyst team holds a “jamathon” on September 24th with WeWork, an incubator with offices in D.C. providing support services and work space to its small business members. | Photo Courtesy: SunShot Initiative

SunShot Catalyst team holds a “jamathon” on September 24th with WeWork, an incubator with offices in D.C. providing support services and work space to its small business members. | Photo Courtesy: SunShot Initiative

This week, the SunShot Initiative team celebrated a unique community of innovators who worked in teams to solve more than 130 compelling issues in solar energy.

Through our SunShot Catalyst Prize program, solar innovators formed teams to develop creative business plans with the goal of solving more than 100 issues in the solar sector as identified by the American public. Today, we celebrate these innovators because they live by one of the highest maxims of American ingenuity: “the best way to predict the future is to create it,” as Abraham Lincoln once said.

The global transition to a clean energy future requires tremendous discipline, creativity, and dedication, but above all it requires teamwork. That’s why we designed the SunShot Catalyst Prize program, to create connections and opportunities for collaboration among solar experts, business innovators, software developers, and entrepreneurs. Collectively, these communities of innovators are forming a healthy ecosystem of competition through a series of contests to address major challenges to greater solar deployment than can be solved with data, apps and automation.

During the ideation contest, SunShot Catalyst crowdsourced ideas on solar’s most pressing issues. Now, during the “business innovation” contest, Catalyst will leverage the power of online communities again to incentivize the crowd to develop business plans for products and solutions that solve these problems. And you can be a part of it, by submitting a short video with a business innovation pitch at catalyst.energy.gov.

And thanks to a new partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Topcoder, members of the Catalyst community will have an opportunity to collaborate with more than 700,000 designers, software developers, and data scientists through online coding contests and hackathons during Catalyst’s upcoming “prototyping” contest.

Catalyst’s business contest will select up to 20 winning teams to receive $25,000 worth of prizes to run coding competitions for 90 days on Topcoder’s platform to create software prototypes, and then demonstrate their solutions before a panel of investors, judges and their peers in May 2015. The winning teams of Catalyst’s prototyping contest will receive $30,000 on the spot, and up to an additional $70,000 in follow-on funding from the Energy Department to grow and scale their innovative solar solution.

Don’t miss the opportunity to win with your “eureka” moment. If you’re an entrepreneur, coder, or just a creative person with a great business idea and want to be among those innovators who create the future of solar energy, submit your short video pitch for the SunShot Catalyst business innovation contest at catalyst.energy.gov by November 7, 2014.