SSI Project Grant: Solar Vehicle Team Solar Array

June 16th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl

The OSU Solar Vehicle Team received $3,000 in funding from the SSI this term. Project leader Wilkins White and the team used the grant funds to build a new car for competition in the World Solar Challenge in 2015. Funding from the SSI offered students first-hand experience working with solar energy and the basic knowlege required to implement alternative energy sources into their own personal projects. Wilkins wrote a short summary for the Ecologue.

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The goals of the OSU Solar Vehicle Team are to give students real world experience in engineering and to raise awareness about sustainable transportation and solar energy.  One of the projects which our group is always the most excited about is the creation of our vehicle’s solar array; an ongoing project that first got me involved with the team my freshman year.

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When I joined the Solar Vehicle Team over a year ago I knew nothing about photovoltaic cells, they were some magical material that took power from the sun and converted it to energy.  When I started on the array project I was constantly impressed with the density of knowledge about the subject within this small group of people.  I came to learn not only how photovoltaic cells work and how to use them, but also their limitations and how to minimize their inherent weaknesses.  This year I stepped into the role of mentor to teach others the secrets of the magical energy producing wafers and it was a blast!  As we continue with the design of our newest solar vehicle I am looking forward to passing on the knowledge I have gained from this team and seeing the innovative ways our members incorporate this technology into their own personal projects.

- Wilkins White


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