Posts Tagged ‘surface area’

26 August

How Does A Solar Car Work?


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)


Please show your support for Renewable Energy by visiting-signing-sharing Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State!


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

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)


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27 July

More On Feed-In-Tariff…Let’s Not Waste Our Sunshine And Surface Area Here In Florida And USA


If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

If you are concerned about energy security and independence, clean environment, and climate change…are in favor of renewable/solar energy, job creations, and economic prosperity for state of Florida and USA…then check out for information, by typing in various topics in the search box at right side of the web site, on: Feed-In-Tariff, Solar Incentive, Solar Cars, Solar Plane, Solar High Speed Trains, Solar Shingles, Solar Hot Water Heater, BIPV, Solar Cells, etc.  Please pay special attention to Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Programs for there is a series of 16+ episodes of discussions on Feed-In-Tariff, an incentive program that allows individual home owners, small businesses, organizations to sell the power they produce to the power company .

Talk to your friends, family, neighbors, and legislators about Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN programs and help us to make the transition into renewable/solar energy age in the coming century.  I was talking to a lady from Denmark at the Y the other day and she commented that she was surprised how little solar activities there are in Florida rooftops compared to Denmark.  For those of you who aren’t sure where Denmark is exactly,  it is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe, definitely with a lot less sunshine and insolation than what we have here in Florida.  Then the natural thing is to ask, why is this happening?  INCENTIVE, or lack thereof !  We need incentive for individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, etc. with rooftops and surface areas, that would provide us with sufficient economic incentive to move into the renewable age.  Here is an example (in the next video, with data provided by World Future Council) of another country, Germany, with far less sunshine and insolation than we have here in Florida,  but with the help of Feed-In-Tariff (key features listed below):

  • Gives RE (renewable energy) priority access to the grid
  • Obliges grid operators to purchase electricity from RES
  • Sets the price for RE electricity for fixed periods
  • Sets no limit to amount of RE feeding into the grid4

Feed-In-Tariffs have been so successful in Germany and many other countries because of the long term planning security it provides by having 12-20 year contracts ( this is crucial to investors);it gives technology-specific incentives (this is crucial for driving new technologies into the market);it adapts to technological development (this fosters innovation).

Germany was able to create more than a quarter million jobs in renewable energy sector in less than five years, economic impact of new industry development with total turnover from renewable energy sources of approximately  25 billion Euros in 2007, and saved about 150 tons of CO2 emissions…all due  to the help of Feed-In-Tariff.  Most importantly, Feed-In-Tariffs have made Germany the world leader in solar power.  Another important lesson to take away from the presentation of World Future Council video clip is the fact that majority (more than 80% in Germany & or 90% in Florida) of the market share is from residential rather than the utility scaled facility (about 10%).  That means we, the individuals, will have far more combined impact on the industry and would benefit from the industry of renewable energy via Feed-In-Tariff.  Please allow me to show you this clip right now:



My fellow Floridians and residents of USA, I know that Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) may not be easy to understand, so  I implore you to carefully view all discussions on this topic (Feed-In-Tariff) at by typing Feed-In-Tariff in the search box and listen to those people from different parts of the world who have implemented or benefited from this policy.  Our neighbors in Gainesville, FL, can attest to the economic prosperity FIT had brought them.  Why shouldn’t we all benefit from our generous sunshine?! Then talk and write to your friends, family, neighbors, and your state legislators about introducing this policy so your local communities may prosper.  We need and want more jobs and more small businesses to thrive and pave our way into the renewable energy age.  It is time…we cannot afford to sit idly by and be left behind.  Individually, we may not have millions of dollars to spend on lobbying for this policy, but I believe that our combined strength will enable us to achieve what is necessary to push this through.  After all, we here in USA, historically have a track record of doing what had been impossible.  In response to Rachel and  other readers of Sun Is The Future who want me to write more: if I put up a petition page, will you all be willing to sign the petition in showing your support for Feed-In-Tariff ?  Please keep checking back for future petition page(s).  In the meantime, Facebook, Tweet, or chirp your friends/relatives/family/neighbors/state legislators about Feed-In-Tariff.  I would also like to introduce you all to several organizations and web sites , listed below:

T  O  G  E  T  H  E  R        W  E      C  A  N !!!

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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