Transportation & Fuel Source Technology
Sundancer Car Captures Checkered Flag at the 2006 Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge
Yesterday the Sundancer solar car team raced away with the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge open division championship trophy at Texas Motor Speedway. This is the sixth consecutive year the team from Houston, Mississippi (population 4,079) has taken home first place honors at the competition.
Through the challenge's four days and seven racing periods, the Sundancer solar car traveled more than 619 miles (413 laps), more laps than the 13 other cars competing in the race. Sundancer averaged a speed of almost 30 mph and reached a top speed of approximately 60 mph during the race.
"The competition this year was tough," said team captain Leigh Springer. "There were several new teams at the race and some of the older teams really improved their cars. However, our redesign of Sundancer's body, some new solar cells from SCHOTT, and great teamwork gave us the edge we needed to keep our winning streak alive."
More Than Just a Race
The Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge is the largest solar car competition in the United States. In the challenge, teams of high school students from around the world design, build and race cars powered exclusively by sunlight. Dell, Inc. is the title sponsor of the annual competition.
This year's Sundancer team is comprised of 15 high school students from the Houston Vocational Center in Houston, Mississippi. The school's Sundancer program allows students to gain valuable engineering and business skills, all within the context of the booming renewable energy industry.
"Every time we win, it's a joy to see the confidence and self-esteem that the kids have." said team coach Keith Reese. "That is something you can't teach."
The Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge has taught more than 3,000 participating students about technology, teamwork, problem-solving and commitment - skills they'll need to compete in the 21st century economy - and has inspired thousands of others to get involved in long-term science projects.
A SCHOTT Winning Streak
Since switching to SCHOTT Solar photovoltaic PV cells in 2001, the Sundancer team has not lost a challenge. The 856 SCHOTT Solar PV cells used in this year's car were manufactured at the company's 20 Megawatt (MW) PV production facility in Billerica, Mass. SCHOTT Solar is one of the world's leading manufacturers of PV cells, modules, and supplies.
Powered exclusively by solar energy, this year's Sundancer weights 356 kg, and is 5 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 1 meter high. Energy from the SCHOTT Solar cells is stored in nine Power Sonic batteries, which feed electricity to an 8 hp SLC150 New Generation Motor. The car was built entirely by high school students.
You can read more about the Sundancer team's experiences building and preparing the car and at the race itself at www.sundancersolarcar.blogspot.com
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