About The Challenge
The Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge is the state division of the Australian-International Model Solar Challenge, a nation-wide school competition where finalists from each state and territory compete against one another for the crown of the Australia’s fastest model solar powered car. The Challenge engages all areas of STEM and presents students with a hands-on project that is only really limited by their imagination.
The first model solar car event was held in the early 1990’s in Victoria. A group of university professors, students and teachers involved in the inaugural World Solar Challenge felt that a simpler, lower cost version of the event should be made accessible to a younger audience. The model solar challenge was thus formed, with many of the concepts and problems faced in the WSC being preserved.
In order to participate in the model solar challenge students must design, build and race a model car that’s powered by nothing more than direct sunlight. Despite no batteries being allowed, cars run in virtually any weather conditions and it’s amazing how little solar energy is needed for racing. Racing is conducted on a specially constructed plywood track and cars navigate around this by the use of a guide rail.
New regulations for the Challenge are released at the start of each school year and students must then finish their cars before the event date. Some designs take several months while others just a few hours to complete.
A date for the 2020 state titles is yet to be announced but will be held in Term 4 in Hobart. Northern numbers pending, a regional event may also take place in the North of the state in Term 4. Registration and scrutineering typically commence at around 9am and is then followed by racing through to approximately 2-3pm. Finalists are selected to go on and represent Tasmania at the Australian-International finals, usually held late in Term 4 (December).
The Challenge is all about making Science and Engineering fun and aims to foster student interest in the areas of STEM, with many participants then going on to pursue further studies and careers in these fields. Learning about Photovoltaics is at the very core of the Challenge and paves the way for further exploration into today’s solar technology, its uses and where the industry is headed in the future.
Below are a couple of short promotional video clips produced by the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia for the WA event and by Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology for the Victorian Model Solar Challenge. They give a great insight into what the Challenge is all about.
Getting involved in the Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge is easy. The competition is open to any Tasmanian school-aged student up to Year 12 and entry is free. Teams can be made up of a single student, a small group or an entire class. Students may even like to take it on as a personal project away from school. Put your STEM hats on, get hands-on and start your model solar powered car today!
Get Started Today!
Simply take the following steps to get your Challenge experience underway.