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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – There might be grey skies but things are looking sunny on the Southern Illinois University campus in Edwardsville, site of the 2019 Solar Car Conference. Students are excited to show off the solar car they’ve built from scratch.

“So this is a solar racing car powered entirely by the sun. We have a battery pack that stores all the energy that our panels give,” said Syndey Stogner, a junior in the robotics program.

SIUE’s engineering team will be the center of an ever-expanding universe of possibilities at this weekend’s conference.

“There’s going to be 20 teams from around the country and Canada coming here to learn about how to build a solar car and be successful in a competition,” said Steve Muren, instructor and lab manager at SIUE.

The Nova 57 will be the star vehicle at the convention and can be seen inside the Fowler Design Center on campus. It’s made of Kevlar, fiberglass, Plexiglas, carbon fibers, and solar panels.

“We did everything ourselves, including the panels, which a lot of teams don’t do themselves, they’ll have some other company do it for them,” Stogner said.

Winter weather conditions are causing solar cars from Michigan State, Illinois State, Georgia Tech, and more to most likely stay at their respective locations. But the solar car college teams will network and trade information and get ready for the solar race in Austin, Texas this July. They’ll compare notes and learn from each other about the solar cars they’ve built from the ground up.

“This is a multi-disciplinary event that everybody has to come together,” said Dan Morrissey, a senior studying electrical engineering. “It’s a real task.”