What could be more heart-pounding than watching custom solar-poweredcars race around a frenzied racetrack? Answer: nothing. That’s whatobservers learned at what’s come to be known as the Solar Grand Prix, held this past weekend in Long Beach, California.
Since the end of January, area students have worked to design andbuild their own solar-powered model cars, availing themselves of justabout every material the could get their hands on. Pamela Hale-Burns ofthe Contra Costa Times captured the resourcefulness and creativity of the students:
With a car made from a two-liter Sprite bottle, sodacaps, peanut butter lids and Velcro from an old shoe, Elizabeth Kriebel, 11, Caiti Crhan, 11, Caroline Beliz, 12, and Tanya Joumblat, 11, anall-girls team from Bethany Lutheran, won their heat.
“Pretty much everything is recyclable or reused,” Elizabeth said.
A solar-powered car made out of a soda bottle?! That is awesome.(Nerd alert: When I was in the sixth grade, a friend and I made a modelsolar-power car, a la the World SolarChallenge, using Legos and a few other items.)
In all seriousness, as we mentioned in the solar power rundown this morning, it’s great to see young students taking up an active interest in solar power. Ultimately, it is this youngergeneration that stands to gain — or lose — from today’s investments inclean energy. As the Contra Costa Times story notes, the California sunwas in short supply for the solar race, but enthusiasm and excitementabounded:
“I’m so excited to see so many families here and teachers and the involvement,” [event founder Gerrie] Schipske said.”Thestudents are going back and they’re tinkering with their cars when itdoesn’t work the first time and they’re getting back in the race andthey’re learning the principles. We’ve got an overcast day, and they’relearning that with solar, sometimes you can’t do it with an overcast.”
Despite the clouds, most cars crossed the finish line.
About the Solar Grant Prix: The Solar Car Grand Prix issponsored by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and the 5th District Solar and Sustainability Task Force. Additional sponsors include: SouthernCalifornia Edison, the City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and MarineDepartment, P2S Engineering, Progressive Power Group, Long Beach Nature Center, Partners of Parks, Ameco Solar, United Brotherhood ofCarpenters & Joiners of America – Local 360, Long Beach Firefighters Association, and the Long Beach Lifeguards Association, ABC Solar.