Seaward Solar put Solar Racing Team in Pole Position
6th January 2020

 WHEN a group of students needed a solution for testing their solar powered car, Seaward was happy to support the unique project.

The solar testing expert donated vital equipment which allows the team to run tests on the car’s individual solar modules and the final installation.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE)’s Solar Car Team has raced its solar powered car across the US – and in 2018 celebrated finishing first in its category at the Formula Sun Grand Prix.

Funded entirely by donations and sponsorship, the student-led team work together to design, build and race their car at American Solar Challenge events throughout the year.

The events encourage participants to develop a greater understanding of solar technology and its environmental benefits – as well as giving students the chance to develop their technical and creative skills.

Although the SIUE team was founded in 2004, it had never had access to an I-V curve tracer – an important device which allows the team to accurately test the performance of the car’s solar module and provide insights into any issues that might have been hindering progress, and opportunities to make improvements.

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The team’s project adviser, Zachary Crawford, reached out to Seaward and was delighted when the solar testing giant offered to sponsor the team – and donate PV150 and PV210 kits to help with its research.

Zachary explained: “Everything on a solar car hinges around efficiency – both in power production and power use.

“We have experimented with building our own I-V curve tracers but haven’t been able to produce anything that matches the performance and dependability of a commercial product.

“With the help of Seaward’s donation we were able to produce our most efficient solar array to date!”

With 2019’s races on the horizon, the team hopes to continue their ground-breaking research.

Zach said: “Part of what we do is research new ways to build lighter and more efficient systems, such as our solar array.

“Seaward’s devices will allow us to accurately test the efficiency of new designs and give us an insight into their performance in ways we have never been able to see before.”

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And it’s not just the SIUE team which will benefit from the new technology.

Zach said: “Like all solar car teams, we hide nothing from the public and pride ourselves on our research being open source.

“Any discoveries or advancements we make will be in the public domain. We do this because we believe in the technology and love the challenge of making a real difference to solar research.

“We can’t thank Seaward enough for this donation. The kits will be valuable pieces of equipment – both in the lab and on the race track – for many years to come.”

Seaward, which also has bases in North America and SE Asia, recently relaunched its popular range of PV testing equipment, the PV200 and PV210.

The upgraded kit features new functionality to boost performance and precision, including a new I-V curve algorithm designed to produce higher resolution results.

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