By Steven Roberts……

The Cyprus 2017 Solar Car Challenge took place on Sunday 25th June from 10.00am to 13.00pm in south Nicosia. This has become an annual event and it is now in its eighth year. The event was sponsored by the Cyprus Institute in cooperation with (south) Nicosia Municipality

The solar cars with panels that absorb only sunlight powering their engines with energy, crossed the streets of Stasikratous Str., Spyrou Kyprianou Ave., Georgiou Griva Digeni Ave., Dimostheni Severi Ave., and Vasilissis Freiderikis Str. This unique race opens new horizons for the future scientists and enhances their interest in science, technology, development and utilization of alternative energy sources.

I arrived just after the start, and got a good vantage point in Starbucks where I could see the cars and take photographs as they raced past. The cars came in all shapes and sizes, some looked like they were just  2-3 solar panels over a set of wheels, others looked like real cars, a few like racing cars, and one even resembled the Batmobile! All followed the course at quite a pace and the absence of engine noise surprised a couple of pedestrians who ignored police advice not to cross the road!

The organisers said they aspired to offer a spectacular experience passing the message that the environmentally friendly technology is our future for a green planet. I think they achieved that, and provided an entertaining spectacle as well. Whether solar powered cars can have a commercial future remains to be seen. However if this technology can be harnessed commercially, then Cyprus which boasts 330+ days of sunshine every year will be an obvious place for it to become established. This annual event shows what can be done, and if you didn’t see it this year, keep a look out for next year’s solar car challenge, it is a free event and well worth seeing.