Posts Tagged ‘Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex’

26 August

How Does A Solar Car Work?


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Some of our young readers/viewers/visitors are very interested in the World Solar Challenge 2013 and have written to find out more about how solar cars are built and how they work.  So I spent a good part of the day, digging through all of my accumulated videos and photos, looking for graphical images and videos that would help to satisfy their request.

Luckily, during World Solar Challenge 2011 in Australia, I encountered some wonderful people working at RiAus (Royal Institution of Australia).

The Science Exchange of RiAus (formerly Adelaide's Stock Exchange building, The Science Exchange, Exchange Place, Adelaide SA 5000, photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

They’ve provided me the graphics and explanations showing the most important components of the Solar Car. Below, you will see the solar car design, intended to be aerodynamics and light while maintaining a large surface area to allow the maximum number of solar panels. These solar cars also have low friction tires and a sleek design to reduce wind resistance, below:

How Does A Solar Car Work (credit: RiAus, grapahic designer Carol Perkins, Royal Institution of Australia, in association with World Solar Challenge)

  1. Starting with the Sun: Solar energy, in the form of photons, radiates from the sun 150 million kilometers from earth.
  2. Solar energy becomes electricity: The photons hit solar panels mounted on the car. This energises the electrons in the panel causing them to move. The movement generates an electrical current. Solar car panels have a textured surface to maximize surface area to increase the amount of light energy that can be harnessed.
  3. Power storage: Batteries can store extra solar power in the form of chemical energy, which can then be fed to the motor when there is insufficient sunlight.
  4. Motor controller: The motor controller regulates how much power is fed to the motor. When the accelerator pressed, the motor controller changes the frequency of the electricity output. When the car is moving, electricity can be fed directly from the solar panels to the motor controller.
  5. The motor: Power reaches the motor, which is contained within the wheel. A typical motor includes strong magnets and a wire coil to carry the current. The interaction between the magnetic force and electric current generates motion.

RiAus (Royal Institution of Australia) is Australia’s unique national science hub, promoting public awareness and understanding of science. RiAus intends to make science fun, inspiring and accessible for all Australians. This is accomplished  by producing online content, public events, and education and teacher support programs. RiAus helps people discover the wonders of science, inspiring a new generation to learn and appreciate the importance of science in their daily life. To find out more about various projects at RiAus, please visit:

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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15 October

Prelude to Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011


If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.

This year the Veolia World Solar Challenge will begin on October 16, 2011, from the city of Darwin , Australia, traversing the 3021 km (1,877 mi) to Adelaide through the Australian outback.

World Solar Challenge 2011 route map

This solar-powered car race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools. The race has a 20-year history,

Tokai Challenger of Japan's Tokai University, winner of 2009 Global Green Challenge

Nuna 3 of 4-times victors Dutch Nuna Team

spanning nine races, starting the first race in 1987. This year, the first solar racing car that departs and its support fleet will be followed at two-minute intervals by 36 other racing teams from twenty countries.

Before these solar cars are able to participate in the race, each and every one of them has to pass the qualification round of scrutineering process. The static scrutineering process (which took place between Oct. 12, Wed.-Oct. 14, Fri) took place at Foskey Pavilion in Darwin Showgrounds, involves tests for batteries, solar cells, mechanical and electrical components, measurements and overall safety based on the rules and regulations set by the WSC (World Solar Challenge) committee. This is a very friendly competition, encouraging others attempting the same goal (utilizing the sun’s energy to power the vehicle);therefore, the scrutineering process is mainly focused on safety and protection for all involved in the process (drivers/pilots of the solar cars and people around the vehicle).The dynamic scrutineering took place on Oct. 15, Sat., at the Hidden Valley Racetrack in Darwin.

Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex, where dynamic scrutineering or qualification round took place

to determine the order of the cars during the actual race starting on Sunday at Darwin State Square (in front of the Parliament House). The qualification round saw Solar Team Twente (Twente) securing the first starting position in the race, followed by Nuon Solar Team (Nuna 6) and University of Michigan (Quantum). Complete list of 37 qualified solar cars and their respective times (during the qualifying round) can be found in As you can see, the top 10 times are within 11 seconds of one another, indicating that these cars are very close in performance. Historically, reliability is a main concern; therefore, “perhaps only 30% of these cars will be able to complete the whole course.” commented Coordinator Luke Wyman of Veolia WSC,

and more on World Solar Challenge 2011 in the clip below:


The idea for the competition originates from Danish-born adventurer Hans Tholstrup. He was the first to circumnavigate the Australian continent in a 16-foot (4.9m) open boat. At a later stage in his life he became involved in various competitions with fuel saving cars and trucks. Already in the 1980s, he became aware of the necessity to explore sustainable energy as a replacement for the limited available fossil fuel. Sponsored by BP, he designed the world’s first solar car, called The Quiet Achiever, and traversed the 4,052 km (2,518mi) between Sydney and Perth in 20 days. That was the precursor of the World Solar Challenge. After the 4th race, he sold the rights to the state of South Australia and leadership of the race was assumed by Chris Selwood. The race was held every three years until 1999 when it was switched to every two years. (World Solar Challenge, Wikipedia)

More will unfold as we continue our reporting on Veolia World Solar Challenge in the coming days….

~have a bright and sunny day~

written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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