SUNY New Paltz Solar Car attempts to eclipse world speed record

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz’s Solar Car Racing Team is setting its sights high again after recent awards and favorable coverage by Forbes magazine. This time, the team’s goal is to claim the world’s fastest land speed record for a solar-powered vehicle with their latest car.

The Guinness World Record attempt is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 26, at Stewart International Airport. The car will race at solar time, 12:59 p.m.

The press is invited to this event. Attendance other than the press is by invitation only. It is not open to the general public due to security restrictions at Stewart Airport.

This attempt is contingent on the coordination of numerous conditions, such as favorable weather, safety and the proper function of the car’s one-of-a kind components. The solar car program may reschedule the attempt on the day, if necessary.

Two students will drive the solar car. They are Luke Stover, a physics major from Middletown N.Y. and Phillip “PJ” Johnson, a student at SUNY Ulster County Community College from New Paltz, N.Y. with backup driver, Ray Williams, a physics major from Kerhonkson, N.Y.

Additional members from the New Paltz Solar Car Racing Team who will attend are Project Manager Kira Cozzolino, a business major from New Paltz; Andre Candido, an electrical engineering major from New Rochelle, N.Y.; Caitlin O’Donnell, an environmental studies major from Lagrangeville, N.Y.; and Colin Morrell, a physics major from Huntington Station, N.Y.

“The solar car exemplifies the efforts to make the Hudson Valley a center for the solar industry as well as educating students about solar technology,” said Interim Dean of the School of Science and Engineering Daniel Freedman. “This is a community effort by local industry, The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), The State University of New York at New Paltz and many others.”

By working closely with The Solar Energy Consortium, an industry-led, not-for-profit group involved in the research and manufacture of solar energy cells and related technologies, the students and faculty advisors of the Solar Car Racing Team constructed the $250,000 SUNyHAWk. This car raced at last year’s American Solar Challenge. Its technology was the foundation for the custom car that was built to attempt to claim the world record for fastest solar car.

Vincent Cozzolino and others initiated the Solar Energy Consortium in 2007. Cozzolino is a SUNY New Paltz alumnus and an advisor for the Solar Car Racing Team as well as CEO of TSEC and member of the recently formed Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.

“This record attempt recognizes that the School of Science and Engineering is competing at a high-tech, high-caliber level against universities and organizations that are much, much bigger than us,” said Cozzolino. “In terms of job creation, claiming this record, even the challenge itself, is a great boost for the region. We will begin to develop a culture that will attract companies to the Hudson Valley region where they will want to invest in research and be in the vanguard of creating a regional hub where high-tech manufacturing thrives.”

The Solar Car Racing Team benefits from an average of 30 active participating students from a cross-section of academic majors some of which are business, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, graphic design, communication and art.

Generous donations in cash and services have come from many state organizations, businesses, and individuals across the Hudson Valley to purchase everything from high-efficiency tires that resemble bicycle tires to materials needed to upgrade the solar cells.

Major Sponsors for SUNY New Paltz’s Solar Car Racing Team are The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), FALA Technologies, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, U.S. Department of Energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Belleayre Mountain, IBM, Honeywell, Curtis Instruments, New Paltz alumni Dr. Steven Brody (’73) and Karen L. Brody (’71), (’80g) and State University of New York at New Paltz Foundation, School of Science and Engineering and Office of Student Activities and Union Services among many others.

The New Paltz solar car program received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy with the support of Congressman Maurice Hinchey. Local elected officials are invited to the event.