- Energy Infrastructure
Reserved for Energy
The American-Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) is a $200,000 prize competition that will recognize community solar portfolios and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities.
Community solar is any solar project or purchasing program in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups, within a certain geographic area. Community solar projects and programs can vary significantly in their structure, implementation, and benefits they provide. The best practices of the projects and programs recognized by the Sunny Awards will provide a blueprint for community solar developers, state energy offices, utilities, and others to help achieve the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) target to power the equivalent of five million households with community solar by 2025, generating $1 billion in electricity bill savings.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), announced the 2023 Sunny Awards in April 2023. The Sunny Awards offer up to thirty Finalist Awards at $2,500, up to fifteen Meaningful Benefits/Engagement Awards at $5,000, and up to five Grand Prize awards at $10,000.
To apply, community solar projects and programs must be able to prove that they are providing meaningful benefits in at least one of the following Meaningful Benefits:
- Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) Household Access
- Greater Household Savings
- Resilience and Grid Benefits
- Community Ownership
- Equitable Workforce Development and Entrepreneurship
- Engagement Award: Community Participation
- Engagement Award: Inclusive Outreach
Competitors will nominate a portfolio (of 1-5 community solar projects) or state-, tribal-, territory-, municipal- or utility-run program that demonstrates replicable and scalable best practices in providing meaningful benefits to community solar subscribers and their communities. Competitors will be required to complete a cover page, narrative, and to provide the required evidence detailed in the official rules.
The Sunny Awards are a competition with four levels of recognition. Reviewers, including DOE staff and external experts, will evaluate nominations and give the following recognition and awards to top submissions.