brushed metal background
SOLVE IT Prize logo


The $5 million Solutions for Lasting, Viable Energy Infrastructure Technologies (SOLVE IT) Prize aims to empower communities to identify and work to implement innovative clean energy solutions in a way that works best for their unique needs and challenges. SOLVE IT aims to promote the commercialization of promising energy technologies as well as an equitable and just energy transition.


Communities across the country are faced with long-standing energy challenges, including pollution from heavy industry and other sources, high energy costs, aging grid infrastructure, and more. Clean energy technologies can help address many of these challenges while providing other economic, health, and workforce benefits.

Many communities, however, lack the resources and capacity to consider the best possible approach to a clean energy transition. The SOLVE IT Prize was designed to support communities as they identify and implement innovative solutions in a way that works best to address their unique needs and challenges. In doing so, the SOLVE IT Prize aims to promote the commercialization of promising energy technologies that will lead to an equitable and just energy transition.

The prize will award competitors with a demonstrated history of productive work with communities. Competitors will work collaboratively with stakeholders interested in community-scale (neighborhood-, town-, or city-scale) planning around clean energy to engage their communities, build a network of support for clean energy or decarbonization projects, and develop plans for carrying out these projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) have collaborated to launch the SOLVE IT Prize. The prize is part of the American-Made program and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SOLVE IT is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).

solar panels in a field and people looking at a computer

Prize Structure

Over three phases, competitors will work with communities to develop a credible path forward on clean energy projects that help address local challenges. Each team may win up to $730,000 across these three phases.

  • Embark Phase: Competitors will identify a community, a challenge facing that community that can be addressed by a clean technology solution, and a clear plan for engaging with the community. Competitors will demonstrate that they have what it takes to carry out their project. At the end of the phase, approximately 25 winners will receive $80,000 each and move on to the second phase.
  • Engage Phase: Teams will engage with their community stakeholders to develop the community’s vision for their future clean energy or decarbonization project. Approximately 10 teams will receive $150,000 each and move on to the Establish phase.
  • Establish Phase: Teams will create plans for carrying out at least one specific, technically novel clean energy or decarbonization project. Approximately three winners, each demonstrating proof that they have obtained confirmed commitments needed to carry out their projects, will receive $500,000 each.
timeline of SOLVE IT Prize from American-Made Challenges.

All dates are subject to change. View the complete prize timeline on HeroX.

Who Can Participate?

The competition is open to individuals or entities that work collaboratively with communities to develop and carry out projects that benefit communities and reflect their priorities. Competitors should have or have access to the knowledge and resources needed to promote clean energy projects in their communities.

Eligible competitors include but are not limited to individuals, private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), consortia, academic institutions, labor unions, nongovernmental organizations, and nonfederal government entities (such as tribes, states, counties, and municipalities) in the United States, subject to the requirements detailed in the official prize rules.

Solutions That Help Shape the Future

Are you a community-centric individual, business, coalition, or organization interested in being part of a diverse and inclusive clean energy future? Bring your ideas to life with the SOLVE IT Prize.

Get Started!