Building a solar car is a very ambitious goal, but one that is achievable through hard work and commitment. One of the first things to do is to organize a group of people interested in building a car, and planning a specific goal. How much money will you need to build a solar car? If the least expensive parts are used, the cost of a solar car is about $12,000, not including trip costs to the competition. You will need a core group of fundraisers who are willing to spend the year making presentations to businesses and speaking to individuals at their home. You will also need to assess what materials and tools you need and get several people focused on building the car itself. It may be a difficult road the first year, but the things you learn along the way will last a lifetime!

Solar cars are powered by the sun's energy. The main component of a solar car is its solar array, which collect the energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical energy. The solar cells collect a portion of the sun's energy and stores it into the batteries of the solar car. Before that happens, power trackers converts the energy collected from the solar array to the proper system voltage, so that the batteries and the motor can use it. After the energy is stored in the batteries, it is available for use by the motor & motor controller to drive the car. The motor controller adjusts the amount of energy that flows to the motor to correspond to the throttle. The motor uses that energy to drive the wheels.

Please direct comments and questions to:
William Shih, Northview Solar Racing Team
Last modified: September 2, 1998