Solar Cars Beam Into East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/17/07-Henderson

Solar Cars Beam Into East Texas

Luckily the sun is out in East Texas this week.  It's helping a race from Round Rock, Texas to New York.  It's called the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge. And it is powered solely on solar energy. Tuesday they stopped in Henderson for a lunch break.

It may look more like a spaceship than any car you see out on the road; but don't be fooled, because a solar car may just be pulling up next to you. 

"We've gotten some awkward stares, not too many people know what's going on.  They've kind of wondered what the car is all about and what it is," said Tom Ruggiero, a Junior from Newburgh, New York.

It's a car that runs solely on the sun's rays.

"Whenever the sun hits the array, which is the solar cells, it generates energy to run our motor and then if its kinda cloudy then we just run off the energy stored in our battery bank," said Leigh Spring, Captain from Houston, Mississippi.

High Schoolers are competing in a nine-day race, driving the solar cars more than two thousand miles. 

"At the end of the nine days, the team that's able to acquire the most miles over those days is declared the winner," said event director Dr. Lehman Marks.

The students say they do it to raise awareness about the importance of solar energy.

"Our generation is becoming more and more aware of the affects of global warming, pollution and such and it's going to affect us later on, so we need to take a stand and find alternative energy sources and put them to use," said Tom.

And if solar cars are the wave of the future, then a lot of East Texans say they'll be looking out for them.

"It'd be a lot cheaper to drive than having to pull over and get gas all the time," said Henderson native Star Locke.

The teams' next stop is Shreveport. They're expected to roll into New York near the end of July.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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