New solar panel made for damaged TU/e solar car

Solar Team Eindhoven will have a completely new solar panel flown in for the solar car that they are using in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. Stella Era suffered severe damage on its way to Australia. As a result, the rearmost and most important solar panel of the car could no longer be salvaged. A new panel is now being made in the Netherlands.

photo Solar Team Eindhoven

It is a race against time to get the car in shape on time. The world championship starts in a month. “We have considered various options, but eventually opted for a completely new solar panel”, says Katelijn van Kooten, exterior designer at Solar Team Eindhoven.

Nail biter

The panel is now being custom-made for the solar car by a partner of the team. “We hope it will arrive in Australia soon. But we think it’s even more important that it really gets here in one piece,” she says. “The transport will be done in the same way as last time, so its a bit of a nail biter.”

One of the beams of the transport container probably came loose during transport by plane and truck to Darwin. That beam made a hole in one of the solar panels on the car. “The rear solar panel is the most efficient because it has the best position relative to the sun.”

Whether or not the new panel will be as efficient as the old one is still a mystery, in Van Kooten's view. “We are going to test its capacity as soon as it arrives in Australia.” If the team is able to keep the world title is open to question. “Not until after the tests will we know what our chances will be in the race.”

This article was written en previously published by Innovation Origins. 

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