Tesla invests in Carbondale’s Solar Rollers initiative

Staff report

Solar Rollers of Carbondale is taking its unique energy education program to Nevada schools, thanks to a sponsorship from renowned electric vehicle maker Tesla.

“The Solar Rollers team is both honored and stoked to partner with Tesla, a groundbreaking and bold leader in advanced solar, battery storage and electrified transportation systems,” Solar Rollers founder and executive director Noah Davis said in a news release.

At a Nevada State Board of Education meeting last week, Tesla announced the recipients of the first disbursement of the company’s Nevada K-12 Education Investment Fund — a $37.5 million investment by Tesla that supports K-12 STEM and sustainability education initiatives.

An initial distribution of $76,000 has been granted to Solar Rollers to bring its innovative energy education program to Reno-Sparks students, as the initiation of a multiyear expansion throughout Nevada, according to Davis.

Solar Rollers, a growing Carbondale-based nonprofit energy education program, has grown its remote-controlled solar car competitions from Colorado to Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area, and even Dubai.

“Solar Rollers is excited to expand our energy education program to the Reno-Sparks area with the support of Tesla, a company that has accelerated the transition to clean energy transport,” Davis said in a separate news release issued by Tesla. “Student innovation with these solar race cars is fun — and it’s relevant for their careers and for Tesla’s investment into the future workforce of Nevada.”

The program will work to assist Nevada students in forming teams to design, build and optimize complete clean energy systems that incorporate generation, storage, efficient use and reliability, he added.

Tesla officials said the investment is meant to encourage students of all backgrounds to consider a career in STEM or sustainability, “and to develop the next generation of engineers in Nevada.”

The inaugural year of the program in the Reno-Sparks schools will culminate in 12 high school teams competing in a public trophy race event in Reno in May 2019.

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