2nd Annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix To Draw Over 500 Local Youth

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Ladies and gentlemen. Let the sun shine on your solar panels and start your quiet engines for the other “grand prix” in Long Beach.

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, 140 teams comprised of over 500 Long Beach Middle and High School students will compete for top-spots in speed and design at “El Dorado Park Raceway” during the  2nd Annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix sponsored by Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and the 5th District Solar and Sustainability Taskforce.

“The Solar Grand Prix provides a wonderful learning experience for Long Beach students,” explains Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske. “Students work in teams, use their creativity and employ math and science outside of the classroom, all the while gaining exposure to how to create renewal energy.”

Schipske’s Solar Energy and Sustainability Taskforce has in the past sponsored a “solar energy fair” which attracted a number of residents. “We switched last year to include young people because they will be the leaders that will decide how this country handles its resources for years to come.” Schipske adds that the first “solar grand prix” was so successful that the number of teams has tripled this year resulting in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters building two 20-meter (65 foot) race tracks in order to handle all the race heats.

School teams signed up for the event late last year and were given a solar car kit, which includes a solar panel and an electric motor after attending a mandatory orientation on solar energy and car building.

“The teams can use whatever materials they want to create their car,” says Schipske. Cars race a series of heats and face off with other students teams until a final round. “Prizes are given to the fastest teams as well as to teams with the most creative designs.”

Schipske says that numerous volunteers, sponsors and exhibitors are also involved in the day long event at El Dorado Park (south of the Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration Building).

The day will include information and demonstrations by solar energy exhibitors as part of the Sustainability Fair. The exhibitors include: SoCal Harvest, Tenco Solar, El Dorado Nature Center, Green Long Beach!, Aquarium of the Pacific, Animal Care Services, Environmental Services Bureau, AMECO Solar, Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, Featherstone, Inc., Plug In America, Southern California Edison, Real Goods Solar, The Rain Barrel Company, Friends of the Long Beach Animals, Progressive Power Group, IBEW, Port of Long Beach and Waxie Green. Seven alternative energy vehicles will also be on display at the park.

Food can be purchased from local food trucks. Confirmed trucks include: Knock Out Taco Truck, TastyMeat!, Barbie’s Q, Komodo and The Dog Father.

“Thanks to the generous support of several sponsors, the solar car kits, medals, trophies, reusable water bottles and t-shirts are provided to student teams at no-cost,” Schipske points out. Sponsors include: Partners of Parks, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, IBEW Local Union 11, Southern California Edison, Progressive Power Group, Phat Energy, SA Recycling, P2S Engineering, Inc., Long Beach Lifeguard Association, Long Beach Yellow Cab Co-Op, AMECO Solar, Waxie Green, Union Bank, BP America, Inc., Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach, and Mr. Mike Walter, Port of Long Beach Commissioner.

The Sustainability Fair and Solar Grand Prix are free and open to the public and will be held at El Dorado Park at Studebaker Road and Willow Street from 7am to 3pm on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Volunteers are still needed for this event. If you would like to be involved, contact the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske at (562) 570-6932 or district5@longbeach.gov.

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One Response to “2nd Annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix To Draw Over 500 Local Youth”
  1. stevechengmead says:

    Long Beach Poly High School swept ALL of the High School awards ! Poly’s PACE students under science teacher Tamara Araya took the vast majority of those. The winning High School race team also won 1st place in design AND 1st place in innovative design. Car #0 : Lee Puckett, Vivek Bhakta, Christopher Vo, and Harsh Patel were the winning team members. Awards included trophies for each catagory, tickets to the Long Beach Grand Prix, tickets to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. GO POLY ! GO PACE !