The annual Junior Solar Sprint is a statewide challenge of ingenuity, engineering, and speed for students in fifth- through eighth-grade.
The Junior Solar Sprint is part of a national competition where students build and race solar-powered model cars. It is co-sponsored in Delaware by the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy and the Delaware Technology Student Association (TSA).
Middle school students work with classmates and teacher advisors over several months to build model cars powered by solar photovoltaic cells, better known as solar panels. DNREC provides two starter Junior Solar Sprint kits to each participating school. Each kit includes a solar panel, an electric motor, and guidelines.
Junior Solar Sprint presents a hands-on, multidisciplinary exercise in renewable energy education. It encourages teamwork and fosters interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students flex their creative ingenuity and apply real-world problem-solving in a fun and educational atmosphere.
Registration is open for the 2023 Junior Solar Sprint, to be held Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the campus of Delaware State University in Dover.
Students is grades 5 through 8 are eligible to compete. The winning team will be eligible to compete in the 2023 National JSS Competition in Louisville, KY, in June. Schools are not required to have a Technology Student Association chapter in order to participate in DNREC’s Junior Solar Sprint.
The team of Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School earned the title of 2022 Junior Solar Sprint Champion in a virtual competition held April 27.
Because the competition was held virtually, students not only designed and built solar vehicles, but also built tracks to competition specifications and recorded their best times in a video presentation that was also part of the judging.
Students received points for project portfolios, video presentations of their work, overall design and fastest speed in a timed run. The team accumulating the most points wins and has an opportunity to represent Delaware against other students from around the country in the national TSA conference, in Dallas, Texas, in June.
Schools participating in this year’s event included Holy Cross School, Conrad Schools of Science, Gauger-Cobbs, Fred Fifer, Cab Calloway and H.B. duPont.
Left to right: advisor Norman Pierce, Priya Patel, Christian Wiggins, advisor Katie Henault and Dayna Cobb.
The all-around winners for combined speed, design, video and portfolio presentations were:
Top results from the timed run competition included:
Top results from the design and video competition included:
Top results from the portfolio competition included:
DNREC would also like to thank our 2022 Virtual Junior Solar Sprint sponsors: Chesapeake Utilities, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, Delaware Electric Co-Op and the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation.
Junior Solar Sprint has been a Delaware tradition for more than two decades. It encourages students to get creative and apply real-world problem-solving in a fun and educational atmosphere. And it fosters teamwork and student interest in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.