The Nuon Solar Team has filed a formal protest against the University of Michigan's Contiuum vehicle entry in the Challenge Class of this year's Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Specifically, the Nuon Solar Team believes that this vehicle is in violation of this year's 6 square meter active solar cell area requirement for the Challenge class and the unclear rules for this regulation. The Nuon Solar Team is supported in this protest.
The protest in particular concerns the "shingling" of solar cells, which is a technique in which solar cells are placed on top of each other in a shingling fashion in order to increase the total watts delivered per square meter. It appears that the shingling extent may approach 30% per cell on some of Continuum's array.
In an email, quoted with permission in the protest, a team involved in the protests asks the regulators for this year's Challenge a question concerning this very subject:
"If the solar cells are shingled, does the lower layer which is overlapped by another cell count as active area? (organization's response...)"Yes, as the regulation says the total is the sum of the active areas."
It is understood that the Contiuum vehicle received special dispensation on this issue, and our protest concerns why other teams were also not afforded this same special dispensation. This is not an affront to the University of Michigan team, rather it is based on the premise of equal competition embodied in the race's regulations. We believe that clarification of this matter will greatly benefit this event.
We hope as a team that this issue is resolved quickly and judiciously. The team has a verbal, and soon to be written, confirmation that all race results are preliminary until a judgement is reached on this issue.