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Middle School Students Race Cars and Learn About Solar Energy

Middle School Students Shine at SRE Junior Solar Sprint

Junior Solar Sprint is a “green” car design competition that teaches principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Barnesville, GA – Southern Rivers Energy in partnership with Green Power EMC sponsored the 2017 Junior Solar Sprint at both Lamar and Pike County Middle Schools in May. Students used scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork to design and build small, solar-powered model cars then put their engineering skills to the test on the racetrack. Speed, design and creativity were all factors in determining the winning vehicles.

The goals of the Junior Solar Sprint include:

  • Generating enthusiasm for science and engineering at a crucial stage in the educational development of young people.
  • Improving students' understanding of scientific concepts and renewable energy technologies; and
  • Encouraging young people to consider technical careers at an early age.

The program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association. “The Junior Solar Sprint is designed to educate students about solar power, math and engineering in a fun and interactive environment,” says Erin Cook, Director of Marketing/Member Services at SRE

Southern Rivers Energy is also helping educate future generations about the benefits and challenges surrounding renewables. Through Green Power EMC's SunPower for Schools program, SRE partnered with Lamar and Pike County Schools to install a 1 kilowatt (kW) grid-tied photovoltaic system on the school grounds. The system harnesses energy from the sun and allows students to monitor its data from the classroom, comparing weather patterns with output.

Students in Lamar County saw firsthand why it’s important to have reliable power sources like coal, nuclear or gas as a backup for solar because when the sun isn’t shining, there is little to no output from the solar panels. “The day Lamar Coun­ty Middle School raced their cars, it was overcast with a few breaks in the clouds. When the sun peeked out, the cars zoomed down the track. During cloud cover, they either crept slowly or did not move at all,” says Cook.

For more information about youth and education outreach at SRE visit the Youth and Education section under Membership Benefits at

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