OPES Solutions supplies modules for American Solar Challenge racing car


The solar racing car was developed and built by the Canadian Polytechnique Montréal University.

Competitors in the American Solar Challenge – which started on Saturday and finishes on Sunday – include leading universities such as MIT, Berkeley and the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg.

Esteban 9 won this year’s Formula Sun Grand Prix circuit race – held over two days this month at Motorsport Park Hastings, in Nebraska – and qualified for the current endurance competition, which started in Nebraska on Saturday, was set to see competitors reach the checkpoint at Lander, Wyoming today and tomorrow and will also cross Idaho and Oregon after following part of the Oregon Trail.

The long-distance contest places particularly high demands on technology.

“The American Solar Challenge is the Formula 1 of solar racing car construction,” says Robert Händel, CEO of OPES Solutions. “The vehicles need maximum performance with minimum weight, to be competitive. Esteban 9 without a driver only weighs 198 kg. The solar modules supplied by us are custom made, with hand picked solar cells and a specific weight [of] less than 9.3 grams per watt. As part of the aerodynamic vehicle envelope, they are flexible and very stable despite their low weight.”

Esteban 9 is equipped with 10 solar modules of different sizes, with power outputs of between 50 and 100 Wp. Their monocrystalline cells have efficiencies of 23.7% and were laminated on a substrate of flexible Tedlar backsheet.