Solarstone's Role in Solaride's success at Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Let’s talk about Solarstone’s recent collaboration with the Solaride project - the first solar car in the Baltics. It all started back in 2020 when a couple of ambitious students from the University of Tartu set out to build the Baltics' first solar car. Fast forward to today, Solaride has grown into an impressive educational project, merging the efforts of students across high schools and universities with mentors and industry partners, including more than 300 energetic minds.
What is a Solar Car?
What’s a solar car, you ask? Imagine an electric car that draws its juice from the sun. Solar panels integrated into the car's design feed energy to batteries tucked into the car's chassis, driving us towards cleaner, smarter mobility.
Why Did We Choose Solaride?
In Estonia, we’re facing a real crunch in engineering talent. In the next decade, we're looking at a gap—two-thirds of the engineers we need are simply not there. Moreover, there’s a noticeable void when it comes to getting young folks, and especially women, excited about tech. This is where Solaride steps in, to meld the worlds of social and hard sciences, inspiring the next generation to take ownership of their future impact.
A Real-World Tech Company Experience
Through Solaride, participants are getting a real slice of corporate life. It's not just a simulation—it's a dynamic environment where young people are integral to our progress. They’re learning to navigate and direct an organization's growth, gaining hands-on experience in decision-making and leadership.
The Craft of Solar Panels
Our foray into manufacturing solar panels is as intense as it is intricate. At our Viljandi factory, the team assembled panels with precision—layer by layer. Although intricate and time-intensive, the process of hand-soldering the Maxeon elements is rewarding.
Competition #1: Solar Challenge Morocco 2021
Despite the pandemic, by the end of 2021, Solaride's first solar car was ready and tested at the Solar Challenge Morocco. Despite numerous challenges, including illness, a fire outbreak, and demanding terrain, the team's determination ensured their car covered over 700 kilometers by the fourth day.
The car's structural integrity was tested by the rough Moroccan terrain, designed for the smoother Australian roads. This combined with a wave of illnesses suspected to be food poisoning led to a strategic decision to prioritize team safety and skip the final leg of the competition, symbolically crossing the finish line by rolling the car's four tires across.
Competition #2: Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023
Solarstone once again aligned with the Solaride team for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023. Building on the foundations laid in the previous seasons, the alliance was charged with the spirit of progress and the anticipation of what their collaborative efforts could achieve on the world stage.
In the backdrop of the Australian outback, where the horizon stretches as far as the eye can see, Solaride brought to life their latest solar car creation. The new car was based on improvements suggested by the rigorous terrains of Morocco and the technical challenges they had overcome.
The Solaride solar car boasts an aerodynamic design, enabling smooth and efficient travel. Weighing in at 650 kg, it's engineered to comfortably seat two passengers and achieve an impressive range of over 1200 km, thanks to its high-efficiency solar panels that produce 1.2 kWh.
At the award ceremony the Solaride team from Estonia was announced as one of the winners, securing a top-three finish and an award for the best technical inspection in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The competition brought together 38 teams from around the world. The event's chief organizer, Chris Selwood, emphasized that the challenge is as much an adventure as a race, with teams facing fires, extreme temperatures, and strong winds.
With a top-three finish and a special recognition for technical excellence under their belt, we’re reminded that this journey is about more than just competition—it's about pushing the boundaries of solar technology and inspiring future generations.