Ipsun is so thrilled with Belgium’s Team Agoria win at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge! The World Solar Challenge is one of the world’s most prestigious solar car races created to foster development of experimental, solar-powered vehicles by university students.
“For the first time in the history of our solar team we are WORLD CHAMPIONS,” the Belgian team, which won on its eighth attempt, posted on Twitter.
The World Solar Challenge began in 1987, with a goal to show that a 1,000-watt car could complete the trip from Australia’s northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in 50 hours. Our founder, Herve Billiet, is a co-founder of Team Agoria, which first competed in 2005.
“Back in 2003 we got the idea to build the first Belgian solar car. We had an original group of 15 engineers, and we interrupted our studies for two years to find sponsors and to design the car,” Billiet said. “We ended up coming in 11th in the World Solar Challenge, but it was a great adventure and we got a huge amount of media attention, so it was a big success in that it spread awareness about the capabilities of solar in Belgium.”
Covering the entire length of Australia, the biennial event occurs over the course of five days with teams sleeping in the outback and doing only the permitted basic maintenance at each of the nine checkpoints along the way. “When you’re traveling over 3000km, there are many technological complications and a lot of strategy is required to compete and win,” Billiet said. “The car needs to be reliable, not just high tech. It’s an incredible opportunity to be innovative and push solar tech to the limits.”
Photos courtesy of Team Agoria Flicker site
Agoria’s winning car, called Blue Point, was created with the race’s values, ‘Invent, Improve, Inspire,’ in mind. On the team’s webpage, they state: “By pushing the boundaries and questioning every design choice, our new solar car is the smallest, lightest and most efficient solar car ever built in Belgium. Not only that, but this was also the very first time we designed and produced the solar panel within the team, not outsourcing to an external party. After one year of research and development, this bold decision has resulted in a highly efficient solar panel and a lot of extra knowledge for our team.”
Billiet said he’s proud to have been a part of the first Agoria team and to have taken part in this incredible feat of human imagination. He’s also proud of the legacy it has created for innovation in solar and the message it sends around the world.
“We handed off the knowledge and the funding we built to the next team, and that has continued through the years, finally leading to this incredible day when Agoria crossed the finish line first. The main point to me is spreading the message about solar energy’s capabilities. That was why I wanted to be a part of the challenge. Of the first two original solar teams, three of us have started our own solar companies: Ipsun, Ecorus and Futech. So participating in this race leads to innovative companies making a difference in our world and working toward a sustainable future. That’s the goal,” he said.
Learn more about this inspiring race and check out all the photos and information at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge site. If reading this inspires you to join the solar lifestyle, give us a call at 866-484-7786! We can walk you through how solar works, tell you how well your roof is suited to solar, and let you know about financing options.