Young Solar: A great way for young people to learn STEM
Students 14-17: building a kit boat with solar panels and electric outboard
The Young Solar Challenge project was launched in the Netherlands in 2014 and now has 24 high school and youth organization teams racing in three events around the country.
The teams receive a complete building kit with cut out pieces and full intructions. The program also includes an education program about solar energy and best practices for energy management during the races.
Aside from the hands-on experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Young Solar provides valuable lessons in teamwork and achieving common goals.
The kit includes pre-cut pieces, and assembly instruction videos
Because they come from a kit and common plan, the boats in the Young Solar class are all identical, aside from markings and other cosmetic details.
World renowned yacht designers Vripack designed the boat – V5 Class - specifically for Young Solar.
In 2017 the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), world governing body for all powerboating activities, presented Vripack and the V5 design with its Environmental Award recognizing achievement in inspiration, vision, innovation, leadership and initiatives for the benefit of the environment.
The kit for the V5 consists of six 4’x’8 panels with all of the elements cut by CNC (computer numerically controlled) routers as well as glues, paints and other hardware.
In addition to the pre-cut kit, the teams are provided with sponsor supplied marine solar panels, appropriate batteries, electric outboard motors and the necessary electronics and operating/steering mechanisms.
An example of the spectacular yachts designed by Vripack.
Vripack receives the UIM green award
For the Toronto races we are looking forward to having entries from high schools and youth organizations from all over Ontario.
Discussions are underway with a variety of school boards and individual schools and teachers both with the public and private systems.
If you would like to know more about how your school or organization can enter the V5 Class of the Toronto Solar Boat Race, please
For complete information on the Young Solar program in the Netherlands, including detailed kit plans and access to instructional videos, visit the