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DOE Tries Crowdsourcing for Solar Innovation

May 21, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

solar energy manageThe Energy Department announced a new prize competition – SunShot Catalyst – to spur innovation in the US solar marketplace.

Intended to tackle market barriers and address technical problems that can be solved through automation, algorithms, data, and software, SunShot Catalyst will leverage the reach and power of online crowdsourcing to generate ideas, spur business innovations and develop prototypes.

The Catalyst program consists of four steps with value awarded to all winning contestants totaling $1,000,000, including about $500,000 in cash prizes.

Step 1 begins May 21 with an “ideation” phase. Step 2 is the “business innovation” phase, which begins July 24, followed by the Step 3 “Prototype” phase. Up to 20 finalists will then advance to Step 4, the “Incubation” phase.

The prototype phase is designed to help business plan contest winners rapidly develop viable products using a crowd-centric performance-based software development platform. During the contest, teams will be provided with $25,000 worth of support from a DOE-provided software developer over a 60-day period.

DOE announced SunShot Catalyst at the SunShot Summit, taking place this week in Anaheim, Calif.

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