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American Made Solar Prize Winners celebrating with their awards

American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 Winners Move Quickly From Ideas to Prototypes


Solar entrepreneurs face many challenges getting their ideas and products to market. Funding is always an issue, as is raising the company’s profile to garner attention in an often loud and large field of competitors.

Established in early 2018, the American-Made Solar Prize addresses these obstacles as well as a number of less obvious stumbling blocks. This multimillion-dollar competition focuses on encouraging solar innovation and revitalizing solar manufacturing in the United States.

On Sept. 16, the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the fourth round of the Solar PrizeAeroShield Materials from Boston, Massachusetts, and the r&d lab from Petaluma, California, each received $500,000 to continue developing and commercializing their products and an additional $75,000 in vouchers redeemable for technical support at DOE’s 17 national laboratories as well as other facilities in the American-Made Network.

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Innovators working on project for American Made Solar Prize

How to Win the Solar Prize

American Made Challenges

In September 2021, AeroShield Materials and the r&d lab were named winners of the Solar Prize Round 4. They, too, were an example of early-stage startups that used the Solar Prize to spin up their business, strategy, and innovation in just a year, earning a total of $650,000 in cash prizes and $150,000 in technical support vouchers for their hard work and ingenuity. 

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Brian and Amy Atchley, CEO and COO of Starling RFS, together in front of Starling RFS Roof with Solar

Petaluma Solar Company Cashes in Federal Energy Grant


October 18, 2021

Petaluma’s r&d lab, as indicated by its name, started with the research and development of several products to create more renewable and accessible sources of energy.

“We started the company with a bunch of products and business ideas but we’re not sure which would get traction first,” Co-owner Brian Atchley said via email. “The r&d lab was meant to be a company to experiment with companies.”

Created in 2019 by the husband-and-wife team of Brian and Amy Atchley, r&d lab has found its niche, creating solar roofs that can be easily installed whenever a roof is installed or repaired. And recently, the Petaluma-based company was named one of two winners of the American-Made Solar Prize, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and U.S. Department of Energy contest meant to promote innovation in the United States.

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Sonoma County Focus Podcast – Solar Prize With Amy’s Roofing And Solar


Host Michelle Marques talks with Brian and Amy Atchley, owners of Amy’s Roofing and Solar in Petaluma and r&d lab about their efforts to create an easy to install, a cost-efficient solar product that can be easily installed whenever a roof is installed or repaired. They entered a national competition for the American Made Solar Prize, a contest administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the US Department of Energy.

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Tech News Weekly Podcast

By Jason Powell

Tech News Weekly hosted by Jason Howell and Mikah Sargent brings you interviews from tech journalists who make or break the top stories of the week. Mikah and Jason give you more context and perspective, with an in-depth look at the fast-paced world of technology and how it is changing our lives. In this week’s video, we interview Brian Atchley from Starling RFS.

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