The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide will feature TAFE SA’s “Solar Spirit” from the Mining, Engineering and Transport (MET) Centre at the Regency Campus.
The Solar Spirit is one of two vehicles from SA in the 2015 Challenge, which begins on 18 October and demands each team complete the 3,000km race in about seven days.
Project Manager and Senior Educational Manager of Building and Construction at TAFE SA, Greg Bassani said the car’s design had evolved to ensure it met changing World Solar Challenge specifications and could be built at low cost using readily available technology.
“The car’s development forms part of the hands-on elements of electrical, electronics and mechanical engineering students’ work,” Mr Bassani said.
He said TAFE SA was the only Australian vocational education and training (VET) institution entering the race.
The World Solar Challenge is staged every two years and TAFE SA has participated in every Challenge except one since 1999.
Mr Bassani said the team included two Year 11 students from St Patrick’s Technical College and their teacher, current TAFE SA students and staff.
He said retired TAFE SA staff, catering and other volunteers were also part of the team, with some remaining on call in Adelaide while the team was in Darwin and on the road.
Mr Bassani said for the first time, TAFE SA’s team would include a digital journalist to enable fans to monitor the car’s progress on the TAFE SA web site.
“Our involvement in the Challenge reinforces our commitment to training people for careers in industries that are increasingly aware of their environmental obligations and that are seeking ways to minimise their carbon footprints,” he said.
“The solar and renewal energy industries continue to grow and an increasing number of our students are finding employment within these sectors.”
Mr Bassani said this was also true in the building and construction sector, where clean technology was being incorporated into building projects.
He said students contributing to the Challenge were learning valuable teamwork and entrepreneurship skills as well as expertise in car design and operation, and the potential applications for renewable energy technology across a wide range of industries.