U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Community Energy Innovation Prize

Open Date:


Close Date:


Eligible Recipients:

  • Educational Institutions
  • General Public
  • Local Governments
  • Native/Tribal Entities
  • Non-profits
  • Private Sector
  • State Governments

Program Purpose:

  • Economic Development
  • Energy Infrastructure

Reserved for Energy


Upcoming Milestones:

This prize closes and re-opens with each of its phases.


Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

Funded by:

U.S. Department of Energy


The Community Energy Innovation Prize aims to support local organizations with proven track records of engaging underserved communities and/or promoting environmental, climate, and energy justice as they enact community-led climate and clean energy solutions. This expanded prize also focuses on inspiring the next generation of clean energy leaders with opportunities for college students to work with community partners and has an additional focus on fostering innovation in clean energy manufacturing ecosystems in historically underserved communities.

The Community Energy Innovation Prize has three tracks:

  • Clean Energy Ecosystem Track: In this track, a total prize pool of $4.9 million is available for community-led projects across a wide range of clean energy initiatives, technologies, and areas of focus that advance local clean energy transitions.
  • Manufacturing Ecosystem Track: In this track, a total prize pool of $2.1 million is available for projects that advance clean energy manufacturing innovation ecosystems in historically underserved communities. Successful applicants will bring together public, private, and community stakeholders to address key barriers to advancing manufacturing innovation, business models, and market development. These projects may include, but are not limited to, manufacturing-related education and workforce development, entrepreneurship, resilient supply chains, circular economy development, or other goals related to clean energy manufacturing.
  • Collegiate Track: In this track, a total prize pool of $450,000 is available for student-led teams to work alongside a community partner on a project related to the clean energy transition. These efforts aim to help prepare students for careers in clean energy through collaboration in a real-world setting. Students from minority serving institutions, universities located in rural and/or disadvantaged communities, and community colleges are especially encouraged to apply.

All three tracks of the prize will play out over three phases. Any eligible team may compete in the first phase, CONCEPT, where applicants form their coalitions and develop project ideas. Up to 34 teams across the three tracks will be selected as CONCEPT phase winners and receive an initial cash prize along with mentorship and access to NREL technology experts. Winning teams will be eligible to move on to the PROGRESS and IMPACT phases.

Related Resources

Additional information is available on the Resources page.

Funding Details

Funding Source:
Funding Type:
Direct Award
Total Amount Available:
Limit per Applicant:
Estimated Awards:

Applicant Guidance

Contact Information

Scroll to Top