NREL: 10 Groups Emerge Victorious In Spherical four Of American-Made Solar Prize

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The US Department of Energy announced 10 teams of finalists who will advance in the fourth-round American-Made Solar Prize competition.

The $ 3 million American-Made Solar Prize The competition encourages bright minds to deliver technological innovations in solar manufacturing, which contributes to a better, more reliable and resilient solar future.

The teams identify a critical challenge in solar manufacturing, create a proof of concept and secure a partner to test a prototype.

The solar prize competition comprises three phases: Ready !, Set !, and Go! Competitions. The teams present their ideas at national demonstration events known as Demo Days, where panels of experts assess the quality of the proposed solutions and the progress of the teams.

In December 2020, 20 semi-finalist teams left Round 4 Ready! Competition on the set! Competition that ended with the virtual Round 4 set! Demo day.

Before determining the finalists, a group of industry experts reviewed the teams’ pitch videos and held a 10-minute question-and-answer session with each team to discuss their innovations in more detail.

After months of hard work and a competitive set! On Demo Day, these talented teams each received cash prizes of $ 100,000 and support vouchers of $ 75,000, which could be used in national laboratories and other partner facilities to advance their innovation from proof-of-concept to prototype. The 10 finalist teams are now entering the final phase of the competition, the Go! Competition.

“The timing couldn’t be more critical for these finalists to grow their solar businesses as we need to move more solar quickly to meet our clean energy goals,” said Garrett Nilsen, deputy director of the US Department of Energy for Solar Technology. “The American-Made Solar Prize is a means of quickly refining and potentially commercializing these innovations to help make solar accessible to all Americans.”

The teams of finalists for the fourth round of the Solar Prize:

  • Team AeroShield Materials, Airgel-insulated solar collector for process heat: This team is developing a flat-plate solar thermal collector system that is operated at more than 150 degrees Celsius and efficiencies of more than 60%. The transparent airgel insulation enables this performance, minimizes heat loss, enables a simpler receiver design and reduces costs.
  • Team Cool Tech Solar, Solar panel with heat sink: This team creates a nano-structured heat sink material that can be applied to the back of a solar panel. The structure of the heat sink increases the surface area, helps the panel to dissipate heat and lowers its maximum operating temperature. The lower temperature increases the power generated by the panel and can cause the solar panel to last longer.
  • Team energy for everyone, Save solar energy: This cell-level battery management and remanufacturing device reduces battery degradation and extends the life of new and recycled batteries by up to 30%. This improves the service life, performance and costs of PV storage systems and enables used batteries to be reused.
  • Team Hawaii Innovation Laboratory, Metal coating at room temperature for CSP mirrors: This team’s room temperature liquid metal alloy creates highly reflective films intended for use in Concentrated Solar Energy Parabolic Troughs (CSP) for industrial heating applications. Their process uses spray coating, which is simpler and less expensive than the existing processes for making mirrors.
  • Team NanoSpray, NanoSpray: Inexpensive solutions for rear contacts: This team is developing a highly conductive, spray-coated back contact for cadmium telluride solar modules to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
  • Team Pellucere Technologies, MORE PERFORMANCE, LESS DIRT: This team is developing a nanostructured silica shield that can be attached to the front of a solar panel, preventing the build-up of dirt and other particles to increase energy efficiency. By developing a robotic surface treatment and coating job, the team can provide the shielding as a retrofit solution.
  • Team Rocking Solar, Rocking Solar Tracker: This tracker system was developed to reduce the weight and number of roof penetrations required for a PV system, so that a photovoltaic system (PV) can be installed on more commercial and industrial roofs. This system tracks the sun with a rocking motion like a rocking chair, removing bearings and hinges from the support frame that require roof penetrations.
  • Team Superclean Glass, Increase in energy yield through dusty solar panels: This team uses electrodynamic shielding to repel dust particles from solar panels, increasing energy production and reducing the need for plate washing. The dust particles are repelled by the generation of a strong electric field, which can save up to 98% of the PV energy lost due to pollution.
  • Team the research and development laboratory, Canopy for the sol: This team is designing a new residential metal roofing product that makes solar roofs more aesthetic. This product matches the color of the roof to the PV modules, increases the installation speed and offers an integrated solar roof product in which the service life of the solar and roof components is the same.
  • Team Urban Energy, Urban Energy Solar Canopy: This team has developed a solar roof shelving system on the roof that avoids roof penetrations and increases the possible system size compared to a standard PV system on the roof. This application is aimed at apartment buildings, which with current technology often do not have economically feasible solutions to add solar energy to their buildings.


“The teams in the fourth round showed immense growth in the preparation of their proof-of-concept in the set! Competition, ”said Sarah Gomach, administrator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s solar award. “The competition will be tough in this round if we go to Go! Switch. I can’t wait to see the finalists develop their prototypes and build partnerships over the next few months. “

The 10 finalists will present their technologies one last time at the Go! Demo day in September 2021. In the end, only two teams win the final prize. Each team will receive cash prizes of $ 500,000 and support vouchers of $ 75,000 to bring their technology to market.

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