Look at the top solar-powered vehicles around the planet and you'll notice one similarity: SunPower PV cells on top. Whether it's the Solar Impulse 2 globetrotting plane (17,000 cells), the Turanor PlanetSolar world-circling yacht (38,000 cells), or the SunSwift Solar Sportscar (248 cells) the cells are all SunPower back-contact monocrystalline cells.
This is no coincidence. SunPower's unique cells are known for exceptionally high efficiency along with flexibility and durability. They provide the high power-to-weight ratio necessary in solar vehicles while putting up with the constant abuse of road vibrations - along with the occasional ding from a road rock or overenthusiastic spectator. Without the support of heavy tempered glass in a standard solar panel, other brittle cells quickly crack apart and their output drops dramatically.
We can now add a new vehicle to this exclusive SunPowered list: the Solar Roller (12-28 cells). SunPower is generously providing cells to Energetics Education for use by high school teams participating in Solar Rollers. One additional benefit for students is that the back-only soldering process is simpler and more forgiving than traditional cells which require full front-and-back soldered tabs. Many thanks to SunPower for bringing this extraordinary technology to the next generation of solar engineers and consumers.
In addition, the nonprofit SunPower Foundation has reviewed Solar Rollers and elected to sponsor the program as it grows to serve more high school teams with hands-on solar energy education. The Foundation shares Energetics Education's vision of widespread Solar Rollers competitions between hundreds and eventually thousands of energy-innovating teams. The Sunpower Foundation was created to empower, inspire, and motivate a new generation of solar energy leaders in communities around the world. Let's do it!