U.S. Dept. of Energy Selects UACI as Super Connector for Solar Prize

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to collaborate in the American-Made Solar Prize as a Super Connector to support its goal to boost US solar manufacturing through innovation. UACI is the University of Arizona incubator network and is a part of Tech Parks Arizona. 

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators and other resources across the country.   

The UACI has been part of the American-Made Network as a connector since the beginning of the program three years ago. This is a diverse and powerful network consisting of national laboratories, universities, energy incubators, facilities, industry partners and other organizations essential to the success of new innovations that will be inspired by the Solar Prize competition. This recent announcement has elevated the official role of UACI as a Power Connector for the program.  

UACI will serve as the nation’s hub for the Southwest region, which include the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. As a Power Connector, UACI will attract, engage and support new talent thus developing high quality competitors for the American-Made Challenge (AMC) Solar Prize. The service of the Power Connectors is vital to enhancing the engagement and effectiveness of the AMC Network by mentoring and supporting the 2020 competition teams with guidance and resources. UACI will also facilitate the collaboration between the connectors, participants, competitors and resources within the region as well as organize and host the American-Made Solar Prize Round 3 Set! Demo Day competition. Additionally, the sun shines at ‘optimal radiance’ approximately 85% of the year in Tucson allowing solar technologies to be tested effectively and thoroughly year-round. 

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation provides the ideal combination of facilities and programming to support innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and resources allowing the program participants to build, modify and improve their concepts, ideas and prototypes to provide American-made solar power. This collaboration combines UACI’s unparalleled entrepreneurial support system with the American-Made Network’s highly revered national laboratory research base. Together, they support competitors in the Solar Prize to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for additional investment and commercial scale up.

“We look forward to playing a critical role in supporting and accelerating technology in the Southwest region by working alongside entrepreneurs to develop prototypes, demonstrate technology and evaluate efficiency.  The Solar Prize program fans the spark of innovation and has the potential to motivate multitudes of entrepreneurs to solve the goal of sustainable and affordable American-made solar energy,” explained UACI executive director Eric Smith.  

University of Arizona Center for Innovation

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region and a mission to grow scalable startup ventures that fuel the Arizona economy. Since inception in 2003, the program has directly served over 120 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done through providing access to people, programming and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Learn more

Tech Parks Arizona

Tech Parks Arizona creates the interactive ground that generates, attracts and retains technology companies and talent in alignment with the research, mission and goals of the University of Arizona.  Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges and the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, placing the highest priority on recruiting companies desiring connectivity to the UA. Learn more

About the American-Made Solar Prize

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators and other resources across the country. The American-Made Solar Prize is directed and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Learn more

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