“This competition is the ultimate science project for our children,” Schipske said. “It’s fun, dynamic and steers our kids towards a future that protects the environment through the constructive use of green energy.”
Schipske and her Solar Sustainability Taskforce established the Solar Grand Prix three years ago as a way to involve students. Over the past two years, more than 600 students and coaches have participated in the event. After attending a mandatory orientation on Solar Energy, students receive a “Solar Car Kit,” which includes a solar panel and an electric motor. Students have the creative leeway to design and build their cars by using their own resources in order to compete in the categories of “Fastest Car,” “Best Overall Design,” “Most Innovative Design,” and “Best Green Design.”
This year’s competition will feature 228 students divided into 57 teams. A coach’s race will also run for the grand finale.
Schipske has raised private funds from individuals and sponsors to pay for the solar car kits, T-shirts, and awards. Sponsors of the event include Signal Hill Petroleum, P2S Engineering, Port of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Fighters Association, Ameco Solar, Segue to Solar, Waste Management, Solagex, Dr. Walter, Keesal Young and Logan, and the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Union Local 630, constructed the two racetracks.
For more information about the Solar Grand Prix, visit longbeach.gov/district5/solargrandprix, or contact Rachel Powers at (562) 570-6932 or firstname.lastname@example.org .