By Adrienne Fouts
All images by Candice Corbin Photography
Appalachian State University’s Solar Vehicle Team is set to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix, an international track race, after a year of building and preparing their vehicle, “Apperion.”
The team, named Team Sunergy, is made up of 22 graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, including appropriate technology, industrial design, sustainable design and physics. Team Sunergy is led by faculty advisors Dr. Jeremy Ferrell, Christopher Tolbert and Brad Johnson, and is a joint project between the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment and the Department of Physics.
The project provides students the opportunity to work completely hands-on, which allows for valuable educational and personal growth, according to the team philosophy. While other teams often concentrate on the engineering and competition side of their solar vehicle projects, Team Sunergy largely focuses on the sustainability aspects. The team recognizes the need for sustainable transportation in the future, and they strive to build a strong, reliable and competitive vehicle while remaining committed to sustainable practices.
Recently, Team Sunergy received a check for $100,000 from an anonymous donor. Faculty advisor Jeremy Ferrell said that the money will be used for Apperion and the upcoming race as well as future projects, including plans to build a two-seated solar car.
The Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) will take place in Wampum, Pennsylvania, at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex from July 22-28. The race evaluates the teams’ solar vehicles through time trials, slalom, water-soaked stopping and more events. If Apperion qualifies, they will move on to the American Solar Challenge, an 1,800-mile race from eastern Ohio to South Dakota beginning July 30.
Solar vehicles from across the nation as well as from around the world will compete at the FSGP, including teams from Germany, Taiwan, Iran and Puerto Rico. Team Sunergy is the only North Carolina team competing in the FSGP and one of only two teams competing from the South. Appalachian State is one of the only schools in the region to have a solar vehicle team, and this will be the first time a North Carolina team will compete in the FSGP.
“This project is very much community-supported,” Ferrell said. “We do a lot of outreach, teaching about solar energy and transportation. What we’re doing is definitely trailblazing and takes a lot of resources, so we’re always looking for community support.”
In the weeks leading up to race, Team Sunergy will be showcasing Apperion at various events throughout the area while raising funds for the trip. The community is invited to come out and see the vehicle, learn more about the Solar Vehicle Team and offer support before they depart for FSGP on July 21.
Friday, July 1 at 5 p.m.- Team Sunergy at First Friday Art Crawl in downtown Boone
Friday, July 15- Team Sunergy at Music Fest ‘n Sugar Grove
Wednesday, July 20 at 1 p.m.- Team Sunergy at the Appalachian Energy Summit 2016
For more information about the Solar Vehicle Team, visit appstatesvt.com.
Enjoy these photos from a special event held last week at Appalachian Mountain Brewery in celebration of Apperion, where Team Sunergy was presented with an anonymous donation of $100,000. Thanks for sharing your images, Candice Corbin Photography!