junior solar sprint

Have you ever seen a solar powered carrot on wheels? Probably not...unless you were on hand for that year's State Finals of the Maine Junior Solar Sprint Model Solar Electric Car program for middle schools, now entering its 25th season!

students preparing to race their cars

It's all about engineering...and creativity! Students, in teams of 2-4 (singletons are allowed), are handed a 2.76 watt solar panel and a motor and challenged to design, build and test (race) a vehicle than can successfully negotiate a 20 meter track using only the radiant energy of our star. (Two AA batteries are substituted if Sol is on strike.) Myriad variables confront the kids: From what materials should our chassis be made? What type of wheel---and what size---would work well? Should we use gears? pulleys? direct drive? What IS a transmission anyway?


Engineering; science concepts like gear ratio, friction, aerodynamics; cooperative, hands-on learning. What's there not to like?

student celebrating a win

As a potential adult mentor, where do you begin? We suggest a free mentor workshop this winter (date(s) TBD) where you actually build a vehicle, learning about the array of building materials, and where to scrounge or purchase them.


Qualifying races are held at schools in May, to determine which teams will be invited to the State Finals on Saturday, June 8 in central Maine (location TBA). Peter Zack, Sacopee Energy & Climate Activities, is available, for a fee, to oversee a qualifying event, if desired.


The Maine Junior Solar Sprint is sponsored by Maine 4-H, with Danielle O'Neill as coordinator. For more information please contact:


Peter Zack
Sacopee Energy & Climate Activities

Download list of JSS materials here!

Download Rules & Regulations here!