Appirio’s Crowdsourcing Community Helps SunShot Catalyst Program Solve Solar Energy Crisis

October 19, 2015 Appirio

SunShot Catalyst Program solution wins the grand prize for International Society for Professional Innovation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — October 19, 2015 — When the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative needed help to quickly build prototype solutions that address barriers to, and drive down costs of, greater solar energy deployment, they turned to Appirio’s crowdsourcing community, Topcoder. The community of more than 850,000 designers, developers, and data scientists helped turn the ideas hatched during a 60-day online hackathon into a reality.

The SunShot Catalyst Program is an open innovation program that addresses near-term challenges in the U.S. solar marketplace. Through a series of prize challenges, SunShot Catalyst makes it faster and easier for companies and entrepreneurs to launch innovative solar products and solutions. The inventive program recently won the grand prize for International Society for Professional Innovation (ISPIM) for Excellence in Innovation Management, placing ahead of projects such as Cisco’s Cisco Technology Radar and the Tata Group Innovation Forum.

“The power of the crowd is truly mind-blowing,” said Michael Morris, General Manager of Enterprise Crowdsourcing for Appirio. “Our crowd is home to the best technical talent in the world — talent that, in this case, powered 17 expert teams. The collaboration between our crowd and the U.S. Department of Energy reaffirms our belief in the power of crowdsourcing and the global benefits it can bring to enterprise businesses.

In total, there were more than 100 application ideas submitted from 61 countries and nearly 800 total registrants — and over one million dollars in prize money awarded. Seventeen applicants were selected to advance to a prototype round, which equipped each team with a $25,000 service budget on Appirio’s enterprise crowdsourcing community in a parallel race to create usable solutions in just nine weeks. The 17 finalists were then invited to demonstrate their solar energy solutions in San Francisco on May 14, 2015 before an audience and a panel of judges. The five winning teams below received an additional $30,000 to help advance their solutions:

  • Gridmates — leveraging peer-to-peer energy sharing to combat energy poverty
  • PVComplete — offering solar project design software to solar salespeople, compatible with systems used by solar energy workers like engineers, roofers, and contractors
  • Savenia Solar Ratings — evaluating the cost of solar energy systems for homeowners and installers
  • Solar Site Design — selling solar energy development projects to equipment manufacturers, suppliers, engineering firms, and finance companies
  • UtilityAPI — automating utility data for solar companies so they can accurately size solar energy systems for customers

By nearly all measures, the solar energy industry has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. over the last five years. 2014 was a record-breaking year for installed solar capacity. As of Q2 of 2015, total solar installed capacity in the U.S. surpassed 22.7 gigawatts, with approximately 700,000 solar projects operating across the country, and represented 51 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S.

About Appirio

Appirio is a global services company that helps customers innovate and win in the new cloud economy. As the leader in enterprise crowdsourcing, we deliver unmatched customer value by combining the world’s top talent with a unique cloud services platform. Our platform harnesses the power of one of the world’s largest crowdsourcing communities, thousands of ready to deploy assets, and leading cloud, industry, and technical experts, to help our customers drive competitive advantage. Appirio is a trusted partner to some of the world’s largest brands, including Cardinal Health, Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Georgia-Pacific, Home Depot, Moen, and Sony Playstation.

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