As part of Maker Camp, last week we had a workshop designing and building Solar Cars.

Firstly, the young people sat around in a group and discussed solar energy. What are the pros and cons of using the sun to provide energy? How do solar cells work and where are they used in everyday life? We talked about using them at home, in cars, boats and airplanes.

The young people then experimented with a 2v solar cell and LEDs, to see solar energy in action. Then they tried out the solar motors with the solar cells and boy did they spin! Lights and spinning motors for free!! Can we charge our phones and tablets from solar energy they asked…..Yes you can with the right solar cells.

Time to start building and designing the cars. Lots of materials, such as bottle tops, CDs, cardboard and straws were used to build the body of the car. They had great fun thinking up some crazy and whacky designs.

They also got a chance to practice using the soldering iron to connect the DC motor to the solar cell. Very tricky work as the wires were very thin and delicate and it was very easy to lose wire using the wire stripper!! No expense was spared with the glue gun either….. some people like using lots and lots of glue….just to be sure!!

The young people also learnt a little about gears, motors and axles. So much has to be considered when building a car.


After a lot of creative thinking, sweat and not to many burnt fingers…the finished cars were ready for action. Now where was the sun gone….it’s a nice Irish summer’s rainy day.

Solar-Car 3
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Solar-Car 2
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Solar-Car 1
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