Solar Prize Marks Milestone with Round 3 Winner and also Round 4 Semifinalist Announcements

Jan 26, 2021 10:05 AM ET
  • The Sun Has Set on Another Round of the American-Made Solar Prize, Awarding Two New Solar Startups for Their Innovations

On Friday, Dec. 4, greater than 200 solar market professionals, business owners, as well as fanatics joined a digital Demo Day and also Networking Event to learn which two groups would win the American-Made Solar Prize Round 3, each taking home $500,000 in prize money and $75,000 in technical assistance. After much expectancy, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and also Renewable Energy Daniel R. Simmons announced Maxout Renewables and Wattch Inc. as the champions.

" Congratulations to Maxout Renewables and Wattch Inc. for winning the American-Made Solar Prize Round 3," said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office, that additionally talked at the real-time news. "Their advancements attend to two really different sector obstacles as well as demonstrate the flexibility of the Solar Prize version."

The Solar Prize competitors is designed to award innovators with prize money, important market links, and also access to world-class labs for solving difficulties dealt with by the solar industry. The competition is divided into 3 contests where participants display development and also vie for increasingly larger prize money. Each round brings a brand-new friend of ideas, competitors, and also cash prize, with $3 million up for grabs throughout the competitors.

Quick Innovation Shaping Industry

The two Round 3 winners were selected for substantially as well as rapidly progressing their remedies from proof-of-concept to polished models and also locating partners to carry out pilot examinations of the prototypes. Both Maxout Renewables as well as Wattch had extremely turbulent and also impactful ideas that addressed voids in the solar market. Additionally, they were able to rapidly advance their technologies in an issue of months.

Maxout Renewables from Livermore, California, created an economical backup source of power for crowning achievement on solar, after observing power failures across the state due to wildfires.

They established an appliance called the Evergrid, powered by a fly-wheel that can transform a property solar setup right into a microgrid. This home microgrid can maintain supplying power throughout a larger grid outage while the sun is beaming, making the Evergrid an economical option to traditional battery back-up systems.

" There are 2 million homes in the United States that have solar panels as well as no backup, so if the power heads out, the residences' solar systems turned off," claimed Eric Cummings, founder of Maxout Renewables. "The price of having a planetary system that can sustain backup power in an emergency is at a costs-- almost as high as a swimming pool. Considered that it's out of reach for the large majority of houses in the United States, we thought of an appliance that's only about $1,000.".

Atlanta-based Wattch Inc. began in 2016 when the firm's founders met at the Georgia Institute of Technology on the college's solar racing team. The three colleagues chose to utilize their experience collecting solar information to locate a way to make planetary systems extra effective.

They produced cost-efficient equipment as well as incorporated it with a solar monitoring system to enhance operational performance for commercial as well as commercial photovoltaic plants. The platform can offer predictive upkeep routines, enhance remote as well as automatic diagnostics, and far better design a plant's lifetime energy yield.

" The ethos that we type of got involved in this with is helping individuals get one of the most power out of their systems," claimed Wattch Co-Founder Alex Nussey. "And that means a lot of things-- whatever from just making organization processes extra effective to aiding you find problems as well as fix them quicker.".

Throughout the competition, both teams proceeded quickly, using prize funding and creating connections to get to the following turning points in an issue of months.

" It probably stimulated 2 1/2 to 3 years of development over the last 12 months," Cummings claimed.

Thanks to their innovative concepts and also capability to turn them into proofs of idea and also eventually models, both teams were called as champions of Round 3, each walking away with a $500,000 prize money as well as $75,000 in technical assistance.

What's Next?

The Demo Day and also Networking Event noted a number of major landmarks for the Solar Prize program.

The day brought not one yet 2 Solar Prize news. Jones-Albertus likewise introduced 20 Round 4 semifinalists who will certainly currently participate as the following associate of Solar Prize rivals. Each of the groups made $50,000 and also is eligible to carry on to the following competition.

With 3 rounds full and also Round 4 underway, DOE has currently moneyed 80 solar start-up groups with $10 million in prize money and an additional $2.7 million in technical support through the Solar Prize. Across all 4 rounds, over 550 concepts have actually been sent by business owners across the nation, verifying there is no shortage of ingenuity in the market.

The Round 4 innovators started their trips through the Solar Prize by submitting ideas in October 2020, many thanks in large part to participants of the American-Made Network that hired and also sustained Round 4 participants. The network is a part of the reward program that attaches reward individuals with first-rate companies that prepare to aid throughout the competitors.

" I enjoy getting an opportunity to chat with entrepreneurs. Each represents an unique possibility to discover something new as well as expand my network," stated David McFeeters-Krone of Intellectual Assets Corp., one of the network participants that largely supported as well as recruited Round 4 participants.

Network participants, called Connectors, are awarded for aiding teams with a range of jobs, consisting of financing, mentorship, and screening.

" Helping companies convert their assets into government requirements is the key ability we made use of at this phase, in addition to some cheerleading and advocacy," McFeeters-Krone stated. "We are eagerly anticipating the next stage where we can aid the semifinalists develop relationships with government laboratories as well as other Connectors to help move their options to the next phase.".

Various other essential Round 4 fans include the Clean Energy Business Network and the Larta Institute. Without the mentorship, links, as well as resources given by these and other Connectors, the Solar Prize would not have virtually the very same influence for contending startups.