The Estonian state and Tehnopol support the educational project Solaride with 180,000 euros to build a solar car
In cooperation with the science and business park Tehnopol, the Estonian state is supporting the Solaride project with 180,000 euros to build Estonia’s first solar-powered car. The funding will be used to develop an educational program initiated by students, which will contribute to the popularization and development of engineering and green technology.
According to the recently published OSKA manufacturing industry survey, there will be a lack of 2/3 of manufacturing engineers in Estonia over the next ten years, and this will strongly inhibit the development of the Estonian economy. The Solaride educational project contributes to solving the problem by bringing together stakeholders interested in the development of the field – universities, entrepreneurs and engineering students contribute to the development of the program.
Tiit Liivik, the leading mentor of Solaride’s engineering team, believes that the program and the accession of the state and Tehnopol to the project’s support team is an important step in promoting the field. “Higher education alone is not enough to achieve significant competence in the field of technology. Practical work experience should be an integral part of engineering studies. Although young people have theoretical knowledge and the power of googling, only a few are able to apply their skills and knowledge in real life. I see every day how positive the Solaride project is for the development of young people, ”said Liivik, who is, among other things, the founder-engineer of one of Estonia’s most prominent technology companies – Starship Technologies.
According to Kristel Leif, Solaride’s project lead, the support will help them significantly closer to their goal. “The support of the state and Tehnopol is extremely necessary and encouraging considering our goals. The majority of the received funding is spent on the construction and development of the solar car. In addition, the support will make it possible to contribute more to the popularization of the field and cover administrative costs,” said Leif.
Ragmar Saksing, the head of Tehnopol’s green-tech cluster, believes that Solaride is a high-impact project for Estonian youth. “Tehnopol’s belief in the need for green technology solutions encourages us to support high-potential projects like Solaride with practical knowledge, contacts, finances and a test environment. Building a solar car is an understandable challenge for everyone, but at the same time, it seems like a science fiction challenge. In addition to the valuable experience gained by the students, companies and public organisations participating in the project, the outstanding activities of the program encourage young people in general, ”emphasized Saksing.
The expected completion of Estonia’s first solar car is in the summer of this year when the first street rides will be completed as well. Solaride will compete with the world’s top university solar cars as early as 2023, when the next World Solar Challenge will take place in Australia.