Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM MST
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Colorado School of Mines 
1500 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401

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Bud Michael 
NREL and Innosphere 

The 2018 Solar Hackathon presented by Innosphere and NREL on Saturday, November 10th 

In this one-day Hackathon, teams made up of 2 to 5 individuals will compete for $6,000 in total prize money and the title of Best Application of Public Solar Data. Teams will use public datasets to solve critical challenges around solar energy in Colorado. Teams will either solve an already identified challenge, or one they identify on their own! Participants must register by November 5th. Participants must participate in person during the day of the event.

For the Hackathon, participants must use at least one dataset that is publicly available on the NREL Solar data sets, which can be found at developer.nrel.gov

Participants may also use private data that does not come from NREL Solar data sets. Examples of available public data sets can be found at:

The NREL Solar Hackathon will begin on Saturday November 10th at 7:30 AM and end the same day at 4:00 PM.
Winners will be announced at the end of the day November 10th
Reception to follow from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

A panel of qualified judges, selected by NREL and Innosphere, will review all submissions at the end of the NREL Solar Hackathon. Based on the judging criteria as published below, judges will choose the top three teams.


  • You are an individual legally residing in one of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia or you are a corporation, LLC, or other organization that is domiciled in the United States and properly formed at the time of entry. If you are a team, corporation, or nonprofit organization, all individual members must meet the individual eligibility requirements.
  • If you are at least eighteen years.
  • If you are not be an employee or independent contractor of NREL or Innosphere.


  • A team must consist of at least two people.
  • All programs associated with NREL Solar Hackathon are subject to all applicable United States federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  • By participating in the NREL Solar Hackathon, you agree to any and all NREL Solar Hackathon rules and procedures and understand and agree that the Judges’ decisions are final and binding on all matters related to the NREL Solar Hackathon.  NREL, Innosphere, Colorado School of Mines nor any organization affiliated with the NREL Solar Hackathon is not responsible for any negative repercussions that may result from your participation in the Hackathon.  This notwithstanding, the total collective liability of any of the participating organizations will be limited to $100 (one hundred dollars).
  • Winners will receive an award within one month of the Final Competition. The receipt of an award or benefit is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth by NREL and Innosphere. Prizes will be as follows: $3000 for the 1st place team, $2000 for the 2nd place team, and $1000 for the 3rd place team.
  • You have no right, power, or authority to bind NREL or Innosphere to the fulfillment of any condition, contract, or obligation or to create any liability binding on NREL or Innosphere.
  • All entries created for the NREL Solar Hackathon must be Newly written. “Newly written” means that the application was not a minimally viable product or completed product and was not commercially available or publicly accessible before November 10, 2018. You may use source code, sample code, libraries, SDKs, and APIs that were publicly available before November 10, 2018.
  • Each team must submit the code and related documentation for their entry to a repository that will be provided on day of the Hackathon. The submission must include all source code of the entry, a file for documentation, and a data architecture diagram.
  • Each team must register by 5:00 PM MDT on November 5, 2018.
  • All materials submitted to NREL Solar Hackathon must be in English.
  • NREL Solar Hackathon reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is offensive, as determined by NREL and Innosphere, in our sole discretion. Please ensure your entry is appropriate for all viewing audiences.


NREL Solar Hackathon judging will be based on the material covered during the final presentation.  In their presentation, Hackathon participants should describe progress made across a range of areas, including market research, customer impact, and design and development, as well as others.  Judges will take each team’s overall progress into consideration when they apply the judging criteria.


  • Is the concept new and different?
  • Does it solve a real problem for business decision-makers?
  • Teams should clearly show how their idea is new and different from what is currently available in the market and why they believe business decision-makers will use the product.


  • Is the product feasible? Judging will be based on whether product ideas are feasible to implement and whether a working product could be deployed.


  • Is the product well architected? Does it have useful functionality that will be easily adopted by business decision-makers? Will there be any issue scaling based on the technology or the code structure.


  • Did the team successfully and persuasively explain how their idea will deliver insights to a business decision-maker using NREL Solar data?


  • Has the team added value to the NREL Solar data and cogently delivered it to a business decision-maker to help with the decision-making process?
  • By its nature, NREL Solar data is available to all. Teams must show how they have combined or analyzed the data to create new insights that help a business decision-maker.

If you have not formed a team prior to the Hackathon day, as soon as the NREL Solar Hackathon competition kicks off, you can form a team and begin work right away.  Below are suggestions for forming your team:

  • Forming a local team. Network through your own circles—from your day job to volunteering to hobbies—and don’t forget LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 
  • Attending one of the Webinar events here: http://bit.ly/Webinar_SolarHackathon
  • RSVP’ing to attend a Hackathon event. You can offer your skills to an existing team or look for team members for your own team.


Two words, one simple answer: multidisciplinary and diverse. The most successful NREL Solar Hackathon teams are diverse and have all the skill sets found in big thinkers, entrepreneurs, software developers, data analysts and scientists, designers, business and marketing professionals, and general doers. Members of successful teams share a passion for building something new, turning data into insights and building useful tools.

If you have questions, send an email to bud@innosphere.org.

Available Datasets:

Public datasets available to participating teams include:

Hackathon objectives:

The objectives for the hackathon are to apply public datasets, including the solar data and APIs available from NREL, to solve critical challenges around solar energy in Colorado. Teams will be judged by a panel consisting of a mix of technical and business experts all with significant experience in solar energy.  Teams will be judged on a combination of factors including the number of datasets used, the commercial applicability of their solutions, the completeness of their solution, and the overall creativity of their solution.

Critical challenges to be solved:

NREL/Innosphere will solicit input from public and private stakeholders to develop a list of five to ten critical challenges related to solar energy in Colorado.  Participating teams will be offered a choice of solving one of these identified challenges, or to solve a challenge they have identified related to solar energy in Colorado.  The list of challenges will be published in advance of the hackathon to allow teams to begin work on their solutions.

Calls to Action:
1. Register for the upcoming webinar to learn more.
This webinar will go over details of the upcoming Solar Hackathon where companies will compete for $6,000 in total prize money and the title of “Best Application of Public Solar Data.” The all-day hackathon is scheduled for Nov. 10th at Colorado School of Mines. This webinar is for ANYONE interested in learning more about the upcoming Hackathon!
Register for webinar here:

2. Please send any recommended solar challenges to Bud Michael at bud@Innosphere.org.

3. Register at the top of this page for the 2018 NREL Solar Hackathon!