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Apply Now for Clean Power for Hours Challenge


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking for innovative back-up power solutions that will help critical facilities continue to operate during electrical outages.

Donor Name: Department of Homeland Security

State: All States

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Challenge

Deadline: 08/08/2023

Size of the Grant: $400,000


The Clean Power for Hours Challenge aims to find innovative solutions that can help facility providers of essential services to keep operating during a power outage.

Winning solutions will be affordable, easy-to-use, and environmentally friendly power sources that can provide on-site power generation for critical facilities that provide essential services to communities across the United States. This Challenge is seeking to identify and catalyze existing cutting-edge technologies with a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or higher that can be used to continue essential facility operations in an event of a power failure or disruption lasting more than 36-hours.

This is particularly important to National Critical Facilities (NCF) that support essential community lifelines services (basic needs like emergency services, urgent healthcare, and food/water). These technologies also should be capable of working with on-site renewable power generation including alternative energy sources such as solar Photovoltaics (PV) arrays and small-scale wind power or operating as part of a virtual power plant or similar concept and be able to coordinate with other distributed energy resources.

This Challenge is part of the DHS effort to implement a proactive approach to climate change adaptation and resilience. This is the second in a series of DHS prize competitions to address hazards posed by climate change. This Challenge will support DHS’s mission on climate change resilience and adaptation, and work with the energy sector and other critical infrastructure owners and operators to find solutions for back-up power generation during a disaster.

Fossil fuel-powered emergency (back-up) generators are the most commonly used solutions to supply backup power during facility power disruptions. Most fossil fuel-powered back-up generators run on gas, diesel, natural gas, or propane, all of which have debilitating effects on the climate, producing substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental and noise pollution that impacts community public safety, health, and environmental security, and have fuel delivery and storage requirements that pose additional safety concerns, especially under extreme weather conditions. Battery-powered storage has emerged as an alternative to fossil fuel generators offering a variety of societal benefits such as reducing utility bill payments, storing energy from solar panels for later use, and providing back-up power during limited power disruptions. Significant issues exist with battery solutions such as supply-chain and manufacturing risks, reliability, cost, and end-of life considerations that may impact a stakeholders’ willingness or ability to deploy them, and energy storage capacity limitations (12-24 hours of backup power). This also includes:

  • Reliance on foreign and volatile supply-chains for extraction of materials and manufacturing components and systems
  • Safety and reliability concerns stemming from fire and explosion risks associated with these systems
  • Stationary, energy storage systems that compete with rapidly growing electrified transportation sector for battery materials and components such as materials used in cells
  • Emissions and waste produced over the lifetime of systems spanning from materials extraction through end-of-life disposal
  • Non-ideal solution long duration storage (10+ hours) due to high cost or limited technical capacity with existing consumer battery-powered backup solutions.

Funding Information

This Challenge is in two stages. In Stage 1 the judges will review Challenge submissions and choose:

  • Finalists
    • Up 15 Stage 1 finalists will be selected during this stage. Each finalist will receive $10,000. These will be selected based on meeting submission guidelines, the Challenge Rules, Terms and Conditions, Stage 1 judging criteria and applicability to Use Cases. The Stage 1 finalists will automatically advance to Stage 2.
    • Stage 2 includes a live demonstration of your solution and a second judging process. The judges will choose the Prize Winners.  These will be selected based on meeting submission instructions, eligibility, the Challenge Rules, Terms, and Conditions, Stage 1, Stage 2 judging criteria, and applicability to a Use Case(s):

Prize Winners

  • Grand prize winner: $400,000
  • Runner up winner: $200,000
  • Up to two Honorable mentions: $50,000

Eligibility Criteria

  • This Challenge is open to all individuals (non-felons) over the age of 18, U.S. Citizens or legal permanent residents at the time of submission, and to all legal U.S. incorporated entities whose primary place of business is in the U.S. Eligibility is subject to verification by DHS before cash prizes are awarded.
  • Officers, directors, advisory board members, employees, and support contractors of DHS and Challenge judges are ineligible to compete in this Challenge. Likewise, members of their immediate family (spouses, children, stepchildren, siblings, stepsiblings, parents, stepparents), and persons living in the same household, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate in any portion of this Challenge.

Note: The members of an individual’s household include any other person who shares the same residence as such individual for at least three months out of the year.

You are not eligible to receive any cash prize award in the Challenge if you are a resident designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

To be eligible to win a cash prize award under this Challenge, an individual, team, or entity (“Contestant”):

  • Shall have applied to participate in this Challenge under the rules promulgated by DHS in accordance with the description provided and comply with all of the requirements (Rules, Terms, and Conditions) in this Challenge announcement.
  • Pursuant to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, cash prize awards for this Challenge may only be given to a Contestant that is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States, or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the U.S., subject to verification by DHS before prizes are awarded.  A Contestant must enter the Challenge by following the instructions in “How to Enter a Submission” on Challenge.gov (this announcement) in order to be eligible to win a cash prize award.
  • Contestants selected as a Finalists and Prize Winners must register or be previously registered in the System for Awards Management(SAM.gov) in order to receive a cash prize award. Registration in the gov is not a prerequisite for submitting a submission to this Challenge but Finalists and Prize Winners will need to register in SAM.gov for cash prize awards.  Failure to register in the SAM.gov within thirty (30) days of notification as a Finalist and/or Prize Winner by DHS will disqualify your winning submission.  A Contestant (individual, team, or entity) that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List is ineligible to receive a cash prize award and will not be selected as Finalist or Prize Winner.
  • Contestants may form and submit a team submission; however, each eligible individual member or entity must comply with the Rules, Terms, and Conditions of this Challenge and all of the team members’ names must be part of your submission. Failure to follow this procedure will disqualify the Challenge submission. Team winnings, as determined by DHS, will be distributed to the team.
  • Contestants to this Challenge are bound by the Rules, Terms, and Conditions of this Challenge, agree that the decision of the judges for this Challenge are final and binding, and acknowledge that their submission may be the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)As a Contestant you are responsible for identifying and marking all business confidential and proprietary information in your submission. This includes marking all pages in your submission with “business confidential and/or proprietary information” or indicate that specifically in your video submission.
  • Contestants selected as a Challenge cash prize Finalists or Prize Winners must submit all required taxpayer identification and bank account information required to complete an electronic payment of a cash prize award. Failure to provide DHS required documents for electronic payment within thirty (30) days of notification by DHS will disqualify any winning submission.
  • Contestants in this Challenge, as a condition for winning a cash prize award, must agree to complete and submit all required Finalists and Prize Winners verification documents to DHS within thirty (30) days of notification from DHS.
  • Contestants to this Challenge must agree and consent, as a condition for receiving a cash prize award, to the use of their name, entity, city and State, likeness or image, comments, and a short synopsis of their Final or Prize-Winning solution as a part of DHS’s promotion of this Challenge.
  • As a condition of participation, all Contestants must agree to indemnify the federal government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to challenge activities.  Contestants are required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in the Challenge.  By entering the Challenge, Contestants agree to hold DHS harmless from all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their Challenge solutions or its use.
  • Contestants must own or have access to a computer, an internet connection, and any other electronic devices, documentation, software, or other items that Contestants may deem necessary to create and enter a submission.  The government will not reimburse Contestant’s time and expense to enter the Challenge.
  • The following Contestants are not eligible regardless of whether they meet the criteria set forth above:
    • Any Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of his or her employment or otherwise be prohibited by Federal law (employees should consult their agency ethics officials).  Note: Federal ethical conduct rules may restrict or prohibit federal employees from engaging in certain outside activities; any federal employee not excluded under the prior paragraph seeking to participate in this Challenge outside the scope of employment should consult his/her agency’s ethics official prior to developing a submission.
    • Any Contestant that used DHS federal facilities or relied upon significant consultation with DHS federal employees to develop a submission, unless the facilities and employees were made available to all Contestants or participants in this Challenge on an equal basis.
    • Any Contestant that used federal funds to develop a submission, unless such use is consistent with the grant award, or other applicable federal funds awarding document.  If a grantee using federal funds enters and wins this Challenge, the cash prize award must be treated as program income for purposes of the original grant in accordance with applicable Office of Management and Budget Circulars.  Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop a submission for this Challenge.
  • Per 15 U.S.C. 3719(h), a Contestant shall not be deemed ineligible under these eligibility rules because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals, teams, and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.
  • Use of Marks: Except as expressly set forth in the Challenge rules, Contestants shall not use the names, trademarks, service marks, logos, insignias, trade dress, or any other designation of source or origin subject to legal protection, copyrighted material or similar intellectual property (“Marks”) of the organizers or other Challenge partners, sponsors, or collaborators in any way without such party’s prior written permission in each instance, which such party may grant or withhold at its sole and absolute discretion.
  • A Contestant that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List is ineligible to receive a cash prize award and will not be selected as a Finalist or Prize Winner.
  • Nothing in this Challenge announcement, registering as a Contestant or being designated as a Finalist or Prize Winner shall act as an endorsement by DHS. Contestants, including Finalists and Prize Winners, shall refrain from any activity that through word or deed act as or function as an apparent endorsement of a Contestant, Finalist, or Prize Winner.  Contestants are prohibited from using the logo or official seal of DHS or other government logos or official seals and must not otherwise give an appearance of U.S. government endorsement.

For more information, visit DHS.

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