High School Solar Go-Kart Race a Success | Tech Parks Arizona

High School Solar Go-Kart Race a Success

Tech Parks Arizona held the sixth annual Racing the Sun, a high school solar go-kart competition, this past Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Musselman Honda Circuit track.  Approximately 300 people were in attendance. The competition challenges high school students to design, build, and test solar go-karts using basic engineering and science concepts. 

Racing the Sun is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) project that students work on over the course of the school year.  The competition is designed to capture the interest of high school students using renewable and solar energy as the organizing technology.  This unique program encourages students to pursue technical careers in STEM fields. While actively participating in the program, students build confidence in their skill sets while enjoying the learning process through the fun of the competition.

Eleven high schools competed on Race Day. Tucson schools included: Palo Verde, Sahuaro, and Tucson Magnet. Phoenix schools included: Desert Vista, Dysart & Shadow Ridge, Imagine Prep Surprise, Independence, McClintock, and Shadow Mountain. Competing from Sierra Vista was the Center for Academic Success.

Racing the Sun provides an experience students typically don’t have in the classroom.  By working with both industry mentors and college students, participants are learn from experts who provide guidance and demonstrate how to build a solar go-kart.  Industry mentors include Daniel Cormode, Bay 4 Energy; Kevin Do, SolarCity/Tesla; Doug Mason, Global Solar/Hanergy; Kelly Simmons Potter, University of Arizona; Wally Stoss, P3 Solar; Juan Venegas, Global Solar; and Leah Whalen, University of Arizona.

Students must meet several milestones throughout the course of a year and learn through a series of workshops on topics such as solar panels, how to incorporate automotive geometry, how to design a safe and functional electrical system, how to use gear ratios, safety considerations and much more.

A number of awards were given away for participation, verbal presentation, speed, endurance and efficiency. 


Team Spirit: Center for Academic Success, Desert Vista, Imagine, Surprise, Palo Verde, and McClintock

Presentation: Palo Verde


Standard Class Go-Karts

Speed: Independence

Endurance: Independence

Efficiency: Independence


Modified Class Go-Karts

Speed: Sahuaro

Endurance: Center for Academic Success

Efficiency: Center for Academic Success 


Maker Class Go-Karts

Speed: McClintock

Endurance: Desert Vista

Efficiency: Desert Vista


Grand Champion: Center for Academic Success 


Daniel Cormode from Bay4 Energy was also recognized for his contribution.  He has been volunteering with Racing the Sun for over five years.

Racing the Sun is sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, AzRISE, Arizona Tech Council, Arizona Science Center, CAID, Musselman Honda Circuit, Global Solar/Hanergy, Bay4 Energy, Geo Innovation, Scad Media, and P3Solar.  Racing the Sun is organized by Tech Parks Arizona.

Tech Parks Arizona creates the “Interactive Ground” that generates, attracts and retains technology companies and talent in alignment with the research, mission and goals of the University of Arizona (UA).  Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges and the Arizona Center for Innovation, placing the highest priority on recruiting companies desiring connectivity to the University of Arizona. Tech Parks Arizona is part of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), an office of integrated teams creating an ecosystem of invention and commercialization throughout Arizona and beyond.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSV7Dq6kk2o&t=24s


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