Solar Roller race cars hit the track Saturday
Solar Car Racing
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16
Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale,
Racing starts at 10 a.m., main race at “solar noon” 1:05 p.m.
Educational energy and science displays and a panel discussion.
Teams of students from 11 high schools will race remote control, solar-powered cars around a race track.
More information at solarrollers.org
Teams of students from 11 area high schools will converge on Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale today for the annual Energetics Education Solar Roller races and solar energy showcase, including competitions, educational displays and discussions — and food vendors.
Remote-control, solar-powered car racing is scheduled to begin around 10:30 a.m. outside the school (weather depending), with the main race set for “solar noon,” at 1:05 p.m., according to organizers. In case of inclement weather, the event may have to move indoors.
Spectators are welcome and encouraged to attend in either case, said Noah Davis, founder of Energetics Education, a nonprofit organization that has been working in recent years to expand the Solar Rollers program throughout Colorado and nationally.
Last year’s event attracted teams from nine area high schools, and interest continues to build, Davis said.
Solar Roller teams design and build their own remote-control cars as a way to learn about energy use from collection to consumption, he said.
This is the third year for the solar car event, which Davis began under the auspices of Solar Energy International, where he worked before starting the new youth-focused nonprofit.
“We have been working on the infrastructure of the program to make it repeatable and scalable in other places,” Davis said. “We’re really getting a lot of interest from schools and from the students in particular.”
About 80 students representing 11 schools from Parachute to Aspen and from the Vail Valley and Summit County will be participating in today’s feature event. Some of the participating schools offer solar education as part of their technology classes, while some host after-school clubs focused on the technology, Davis said.
“Most of the schools have done it before,” he said. “We’re using this area as a test for national scaling, and are working on an online course to support teams in remote locations and from other states.”
Motors for the cars are provided by Castle Creations, and the car designs are getting more sophisticated each year, he said.
“The standard is 14 solar cells, but we have one car with 28 cells,” Davis said. “The kids are getting more sophisticated and experimenting more.”
A “concept” solar dragster car will also be on display during the Saturday event. For more information about the program, visit http://www.solarrollers.org.
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