A coalition of global firms has launched a competition to identify and develop new solar and energy storage technologies in an effort to accelerate the scaling of solutions for 100% renewable energy.

The Bright Mind Challenge is being led by science and materials company DSM together with the likes of Solarcentury, the charity SolarAid and Sungevity. It also has support from the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, US services company Accenture and tech incubator Greentown Labs.

The initiative is calling on scientists and product developers to bring forward prototypes using either solar or storage, or a combination of both. Members of the public are being encouraged to help find eligible solutions before voting for the most promising top ten entries.

A final three will be selected by a panel of experts to receive commercial, technical and mentoring support, with the winner getting 500 hours of tailored help to fast-forward their solution.

Rob van Leen, chief innovation officer for DSM, said: “The Bright Minds Challenge aims to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and fits perfectly with DSM’s strategic drive to develop sustainable solutions that help combat climate change. We are proud that the member companies are jointly embracing the challenge to capture the power of renewable energy.

”This collaboration drives radical innovation and attempts to unlock the potential of bright minds around the world. Together we will offer these scientists the opportunity to take their solutions to the next step for the benefit of society as a whole.”

The group has said all entrants will receive valuable exposure for their projects as well as assistance in overcoming the barriers they face in scaling up their ideas and solutions.

Susannah Wood, chief marketing officer at Solarcentury, added: “Solar energy is proving itself to be a fundamental part of the global energy mix. We welcome the opportunity to support entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators in their quest to devise solar and storage solutions that accelerate the transition to a low carbon world even faster.”

The competition is open now with voting taking place in January and February 2017 and the winners to be announced in June 2017.