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Atlas Open Innovation Challenge: Solar Power to the Fullest

"We challenge you to (em)power the world with us"

Application between
March 7 - May 7

Apply here

About the program

For the first time, Endeavor partners with a leading renewable energy company, such as Atlas Renewable Energy. Sustainable sources have become an essential player in the energy matrix transition, and this industry is the most accelerated in technological development to increase efficiency and thus increase its participation. This program aims to find and select worldwide innovative technologies both Startup and Scaleup, that solve solutions to different challenges within the solar industry. The selected participants will be able to access mentorships and workshops guided by experts who will support participants in each stage of the process. The winners will have the opportunity to receive a grant to conduct a pilot project in any of Atlas’ photovoltaic plants in Latin America.

Atlas, in its mission to be one of the world's leading companies in renewable energy, joins Endeavor to catalyze, through an open call for innovation, to reach the best innovative ventures worldwide so that through collaborative work they can validate, enhance and grow solutions, solving multiple industry related challenges.


The company’s strategy is focused on helping large corporates make the energy transition to 100% clean energy. Atlas Renewable Energy is widely recognized for its high standards in the development, construction, and operation of large-scale projects; as well as a deep and long-standing track record in ESG and sustainable development.

Currently, Atlas operates one of the largest fleets of solar projects in the Americas, reaching 2.3 GW of operating projects and a total of some 3.2 GWs of contracted solar and wind projects under development, construction and operation.

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Endeavor is the leading global community of, by, and for High-Impact Entrepreneurs, those who dream bigger, scale faster, and pay it forward. Driven by the belief that High-Impact Entrepreneurs transform economies, Endeavor is on a mission to build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging and underserved markets around the world.

The organization, present in more than 40 markets and headquartered in New York City, provides the entrepreneurs in its network with services that help them grow ventures, create jobs, transform economies, and support future generations of entrepreneurs. Our mentors, who are the best in their respective fields, bring their valuable experience to support the entrepreneurs' path.

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What are welooking for?

We are looking for high-impact entrepreneurs with innovative solutions for the solar energy industry in the following challenges:

Better: enviromental impacts and PV system resiliency
1. Albedo improvement
  • Problem: increase reflectivity/albedo of the soil, from around 20% to 70%, to increase production mainly from the backside of bifacial panels.
  • Requirements:
    • resistance to climate (desert, tropical, etc)
    • wind/rain proof
    • vegetation
    • soiling levels – so that it’s cost-effect to maintain its reflectivity
    • maintenance
2. Panel temperature reduction
  • Problem: reduce the resulting heating coefficient of panels, in degrees/irradiance, since their efficiency decreases with temperature, around 0.4%/degree Celsius.
  • Plus: be adaptable to existing plants, with no complex modifications to their infrastructure.
  • Details: panel temperature increases around 0.025°C for every W/m2, depending on wind conditions etc. At noon, with 1000W/m2, panel temperature can be 25°C above ambient temperature. As temperature increases, efficiency decreases at 0.4%/°C. If the delta in temperature could be reduced in 10°C , an extra 4% energy could be generated. We are looking for cooling solutions to gain energy.
3. Erotion prevention
  • Problem: avoid soil erosion, so that it does not expose cabling nor unlevel the terrain and harms panels/trackers.
  • Details: our plants mainly in Mexico and Uruguay present evident erosive processes in different degrees. The loss of soil not only causes problems in circulation at the plants but can also lead to the exposure of the underground electrical network, which increases electrical risks.
4. Vegetation cutting/control
  • Problem: reduce costs of vegetation control.
  • Details: Atlas has solar tracking in all its plants, and the PV modules can be very near to the soil in some hours of the day, depending on the location, soil type or season of the year. Current control methods include manual and small trucks; We are looking for better ways.
5. Flood mitigation
  • Problem: improve drainage to avoid swamps from the rain and the risk of electrical failures caused by water in the underground network.
  • Plus: reusability of the disposed water.
  • Details: we have intense rains mainly in our plants located in Mexico and Uruguay. In the period between May and August, when the drainage system sometimes fails, flooding occurs, which increases risks.
6. Terrain slope
  • Problem: adapt panels/trackers to irregular terrain.
  • Details: solar PV hardware is usually created for flat terrain, which limits development to specific lands. We are looking for hardware to adapt to irregular terrain to expand development possibilities.
Faster: IoT, data science and AI
1. Irradiance (global and inclined) estimation
  • Problem: precisely estimate irradiance before construction.
  • Plus: estimate irradiance incident on panels given non-uniform soil reflectivity – ex: ray-tracing methods.
  • Details: before construction, there is no actual irradiance measure, but all planning depends on the revenues estimate, highly impacted by irradiance. Market tools, such as PVSyst, have significant inaccuracies. We are looking for more precise methods for estimating final inclined (plane of array/panel) irradiance, for both monofacial and bifacial installations.
2. Tracking algorithm
  • Problem: control panels position using closed-loop algorithm.
  • Details: our panels move according to an algorithm to maximize energy. In sunny conditions they should track the sun, but in cloudy conditions the horizontal position may be better, since the sun is covered. Also, when the sun angle is low, rows can shade one another. The algorithm must take those details into account, but current market solutions are open-loop – they don’t adapt/learn. We are looking for an adaptive, closed-loop solution – ex: reinforcement learning.
3. Electric equipment predictive maintenance - transformers, cabling, breaker
  • Problem: detect early development of failures in electrical equipment – cabling, transformers and breakers.
  • Plus: easy to install in existing plants, with respect to hardware and software.
  • Details: we have transformers/breakers ratings from 4-10MVA and 1kV, to around 100-500MVA and 34.5-70kV.
4. Cabling isolation fault - detection of precise location
  • Problem: detect the precise location of underground cabling isolation fault.
  • Plus: detect the fault online, with no cabling disconnection; easy to install in existing plants.
  • Details: we need solutions for long cabling, around at least 1km.
5. Plant security
  • Problem: increase plant security through automated methods.
  • Details: the perimeter of an Atlas photovoltaic plant ranges from 500 to 1500 hectares, sometimes intersected by public roads, but frequently very isolated, increasing reaction time even for the police. We are looking for efficient ways to detect and repel robbery automatically and efficiently, since having a few people at the plant is unsafe, which doesn’t help, and adding more people can be expensive.
6. Panel/string anomaly detection
  • Problem: constantly monitor/detect low-level anomalies (open-circuits, broken panels etc.)
  • Details: current methods involve tens of thousands of different parts; they are expensive (60 USD per string) and frequently fail at both sensing and sending data. Other methods, such as drones, have very low sampling frequency – ex: a flight every year. We are looking for frequent and cheap solutions
7. Soiling measurement - scalable solution with no local device
  • Problem: estimate soiling with no local hardware.
  • Details: solar panels production decreases by dust, and it is difficult to estimate how much is lost due to this, especially in plants with non-uniform conditions – some panels are close to roads. We are looking for a scalable way to estimate the soiling level at different plant parts without relying on local sensors. Solutions could depend on energy production or satellite/drone data. Ideally, the solution would help estimate the soiling level and dynamics for sites before construction.
8. Vegetation monitoring
  • Problem: monitor vegetation - continuously and automatically.
  • Details: the growth of the vegetation depends on season and environmental conditions. Allowing the vegetation to increase its volume can cause a decrease in the natural albedo of the soil, cover panels and increase risks of fire in the case that the vegetation becomes dry.
Stronger: new business model and opportunity for utility-scale solar plants:
1. Curtailment risk reduction
  • Problem: reduce curtailment risk/losses.
  • Details: many times, plants have their production restricted by the grid operator due to oversupply of energy or overload in transmission lines. We are looking for solutions to reduce that risk. They could involve technology, such as software and energy storage, or business models – having energy consumption at/close to the plant instead of relying on the grid.
2. Price arbitrage
  • Problem: define price arbitrage strategy including aspects of regulation, software, commercial and possibly hardware.
  • Details: we could create new revenue streams from arbitrage – buying energy when it is cheaper and selling later when it is more expensive. We are looking for complete strategies – if battery storage is used for example, what is the chemistry that best suits the strategy etc.
3. Forecasting - generation and prices
  • Problem: forecast our production and energy prices.
  • Details: we must send generation forecasts to grid operators and could use forecasts to make commercial decisions.
Integrated: out-of-the-box solutions
Surprise us with another improvement solution for our solar plants.
All solutions must be:
  • Cost-effective, considering ROI after capex and opex.
  • Environmentally Friendly – no harm to fauna/flora nor CO2 footprint.
  • For more information about Atlas' PV plants, visit: Our Projects - Atlas Renewable Energy


March 7

Program Launch

March 7 - May 7

Application process

May - June

Selection process of 10 companies

June - July

Workshop and Mentoring


Demo day

Selection Criteria

Each stage will be focusing on different evaluation and selection criteria, which are stipulated in the bases. The main ones are:

Fit with the challenges
Innovation & Technology
Founders committed to the challenge


  • Connect with experts from Atlas Renewable Energy, a leading renewable energy companies.
  • Connect with experts from the Endeavor network.
  • The winner of each category will receive $20,000 USD, to execute a 1-6 month pilot in any of Atlas’ photovoltaic plants in Latin America (Chile, Brazil or Mexico).

Atlas Open Innovation Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Atlas hosting this challenge?

Atlas seeks to accelerate its growth and improve its performance by incorporating innovative technology that addresses day-to-day issues and to generating partnerships with the most impactful innovators.

What can I use the $20,000 USD prize for?

The prize must be used for the execution of the pilot in one of Atlas' photovoltaic plants in Brazil, Chile or Mexico. The price can be used to cover costs related to the solution, its installation, shipping from its manufacture to the entry of the plant, payment of customs and services, if necessary, payment of airfare, travel and stay of the team that will lead the pilot to be present during installation, commissioning and training.

Where can I get more information about Atlas PV solar plants?

For more information about Atlas’ plants, visit:

Who can participate in the challenge?

This program aims to find and select innovative technologies worldwide, both Startup and Scaleup, that provide solutions to different challenges within the renewable solar industry.

What does the workshop and mentoring stage consist of?

This stage is considered for the finalists, who will receive workshops from Endeavor focused on the teams and founders, enhancing their scalability, project sales, etc. Atlas will also have mentorship opportunities with experts in the final areas where the proposed solution has great impact and was the best adapted proposal.

What do we expect to receive in the application form?

We expect you to be able to demonstrate in a concise way that your solution can address and solve one of our problems in an innovative way. Where we can see an understanding of our business for its particularity of being immersed with flora and fauna of different locations, without forgetting the security restrictions; above all, the cost/benefit must be sufficiently attractive to learn more about your proposal.

By applying to the challenge, do I also apply to Endeavor’s entrepreneurship program?

No, the selection for Atlas’ open innovation differs from Endeavor’s entrepreneurship program.

What do you look for in out-of-the-box solutions?

When we talk about out-of-the-box solutions, we are referring to solutions that, with a vast knowledge of our business, manage to solve more than one problem at a time of those already mentioned in our categories or to increase our generation in such innovative ways that we have not seen in the market until now.


Atlas Open Innovation Challenge: Solar Power to the Fullest

Better, Faster, Stronger & Integrated
Application between March 7 - May 7 Apply here To inquire more about the program, contact us at: