AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Philippine solar car society launches Sikat as second solar car

Philippine solar car society launches Sikat as second solar car image

Text: / Photos: Kathy Chua | posted December 22, 2009 00:00

Sikat heralds a new tomorrow

With the cost of harnessing solar power gradually decreasing as the technology improves and becomes more cost-effective to mass produce. That, plus our country being close to the equator giving our country enough sunshine inspired Philippines Solar Car Society to launch the second RP-made solar car named SIKAT.

Following the resounding success of SINAG, the Philippines' first solar car, the Philippine Solar Car Society now launches SIKAT, proving the Filipino's capability to lead in solar power technology. The design and construction of the SIKAT solar car was undertaken by a dedicated group of faculty and students from the Mechanical Engineering and the Electronics and Communications Engineering Departments of De La Salle University-Manila, in partnership with the Philippine Solar Car Society, Inc.

"Homegrown Filipino talent is behind every aspect of SIKAT, from its sleek monocoque shell to its dynamically adaptive electrical system. It is positive proof of the Filipino people's technological capability to develop solar power as a viable source of renewable energy," said Vince Perez, former Secretary of Energy, and Special Adviser of the Philippine Solar Car Society.

"As SIKAT highlights our ingenuity, our will to lead, our capability for technology, and our commitment to the use of clean, renewable energy, SIKAT also will be a source of great pride for the Philippines," said Ramon Agustines, Motolite CEO and PSCS Chair, about the group's initiatives.

With SINAG representing the Philippines in the solar car-racing world, and letting the world know that the Philippines can stand with the rest of the world in terms of technology and skills to manufacture a solar car. SIKAT aims to raise the awareness of Filipinos regarding the use and benefits of solar energy as fuel.

"Solar energy is something that is so abundant, especially for the Philippines. We believe solar energy can be the fuel of choice for transportation in the future, but it starts with awareness. Hence this year's efforts - the songwriting contest, the launch of SIKAT, and the Roadshow across the Philippines -- are geared toward making the youth and the general public aware of the benefits of solar technology, and our potential to lead in it, as a nation," he continued.

A solar car runs on solar energy converted into electricity by photovoltaic cells. While solar cars are not yet a practical form of transportation today, they have been raced in competitions such as the World Solar Challenge, which promote the development of alternative energy technology such as solar cells.

Both SINAG and SIKAT, Philippine-developed solar cars, have a body made out of carbon fiber in order to be as light as possible to achieve a higher running speed required in competition. The cars' top surface is covered with solar cells from Sunpower, the highest efficiency commercial solar cells in the world, also manufactured in Laguna, Philippines, and exported to other countries.

SIKAT is set to travel across the Philippines, starting January, making history one more time for the proponents of solar technology. Partnering with the PSCS are their sponsors, De La Salle University, Ford Motor Company Philippines, Motolite, Pilipinas Shell and Sunpower.