The Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge is the state division of the Australian-International Model Solar Challenge, a national competition where finalists from each state and territory compete against one another in the quest to be crowned Australia’s fastest model solar powered car.
The first model solar car event was held in the early 1990’s in Victoria. A group of professors, teachers and mentors involved in the inaugural World Solar Challenge had found it to be a highly educational experience for their students and felt that a simpler, lower cost version of the event should be created and made accessible to a much greater audience. The model solar challenge was thus formed, with many of the concepts and problems faced by those competing in the World Solar Challenge being preserved.
In order to participate in the model solar challenge students must design, build and race a model car that is powered by nothing more than direct sunlight. Unlike the World Solar Challenge there are no batteries allowed. Racing is conducted on a specially constructed 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 then given several months to complete their solar cars for racing. The Tasmanian event is held in September/October with finalists selected to compete at the nationals held in late November or early December.
The challenge is all about making Science and Engineering fun and aims to foster an interest in STEM amongst .
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.
Getting involved in the Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge is easy. The competition is open to any school-aged student up to year 12 and there are no entry fees. Teams can be made up of a single student, a small group or an entire class. Students may even like to undertake the Challenge as a personal project away from school. All that is needed is the motivation to build a model solar powered car.