The American-Made Heliostat Prize is a $3 million competition designed to accelerate technology innovation through the design, development, and demonstration of key components of heliostats. Heliostats are devices that tilt mirrors to track the sun and reflect sunlight toward a receiver.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is seeking to reduce the cost and improve the performance and reliability of heliostats by developing novel components, including heliostat support structures, mirror facets, and wireless control systems. Lowering the cost of heliostats supports the goals of achieving a decarbonized energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 which will require the deployment of flexible and dispatchable generation and energy storage technologies, like concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) with thermal energy storage and high temperature process heat.
The prize is open to individuals, private companies, and nonfederal government entities (such as states, counties, tribes, municipalities, and academic institutions). Competitors are encouraged to form diverse, multidisciplinary teams while developing their concepts.
Competitors will drive innovations from concept to prototype on an accelerated schedule—just short of 18 months—as they participate in escalating challenges.
Phase 1 “Concept” – Incentivize the creation of teams with credible concepts for technology supporting the advancement of heliostat technologies.
Phase 2 “Design” – Design and modeling of the components from Phase 1.
Phase 3 “Assess” – Build prototypes, perform initial testing of the components from Phase 2, and finalize design.
This prize contest offers a total of $3 million in cash prizes for innovations and credible concepts for technology supporting the advancement of heliostat technologies, with up to three winners. Competitors can win up to $580,000 in cash across the three phases of the prize contest.
DOE announced the prize on April 25, 2023.
Concept: Phase 1 opened on June 1, 2023 and submissions are due Aug. 31, 2023. Semifinalists will be announced in October 2023.
Design: Phase 2 will open in November 2023 and finalists will be announced in March 2024.
Assess: Phase 3 will open in April 2024 and winners will be announced in October 2024.
Sign up to compete on Herox by Aug. 31, 2023.
Download the rules for the Heliostat Prize.
Join the American-Made Network.
For questions about the prize, email email@example.com
Learn about other American-Made Challenges in SETO.
Learn about SETO’s open funding opportunities.
The American-Made Heliostat Prize is a part of the American-Made Challenges and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).