Solar in Your Community Challenge

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the $5 million Solar in Your Community (SYC) Challenge aims to inspire the ingenuity of the American people to explore, pilot, and scale new business models, financial innovations and other creative market-based solutions to make solar accessible to low and moderate income (LMI) households, non-profits and governmental organizations.

The goal of this Challenge is to make solar significantly more accessible to low and moderate income (LMI) households, non-profits and governmental organizations, through replicable business and financial models. To overcome current market barriers that block access for these market segments, teams need to design, plan, and pilot new and scalable business and financial models through the demonstration of solar projects and programs in their communities.

The Challenge aims to support roughly 100 teams to pursue community-based solar programs and projects deployed in a wide variety of jurisdictions across the U.S.

In addition to supporting the demonstration and scaling of innovative business and financial models to expand solar access, the Challenge also aims to:

  1. Build local capacity to support mid-scale solar projects.
  2. Establish a network of interested parties and develop a library of publicly available resources

A $500,000 Grand Prize will be awarded to the team that can most successfully demonstrate a scalable model to bring solar to low and moderate income markets. Teams will also compete for an additional $500,000 in Final Prizes, based on their achievements and potential to scale up.

SEI is a Coach in the SYC Challenge helping teams as they pursue the entirety of their plans. SEI is supporting the 5 teams listed below, including feedback and advice through monthly one-on-one calls and weekly office hours. SEI is also providing progress reports to the DOE, and will connect teams to each other, and share lessons learned and best practices.

More information is available on the Solar in Your Community Challenge website: