| Updated at: 0713 PST, Saturday, June 04, 2011|
SANTIAGO: Solar power enthusiasts convene for first-ever solar-powered car fair in Santiago as they bid to compete in 900 kilometre Atacama Solar Challenge desert rally.
Young enthusiasts showed off their solar-powered car prototypes in Santiago on Friday in Chile's first Solar-Powered Car Fair as they look to compete in a rally in Chile's Atacama Desert.
Twenty teams from around the country convened in the capital city to display their sun-powered vehicles and meet with business leaders interested in energy to make agreements as they look forward to competing in the Atacama Solar Challenge.
The desert race runs a 900-kilometre course through Chile's unforgiving Atacama Desert September 30 to October 2.
Participants hope their costly prototypes will one day lead to innovations that will allow solar-powered vehicles to carve out room in the consumer market.
"Solar energy is an alternative, obviously the cost of the car is pretty high, but the niche is growing and there are investigations and everything so that in the future it can be used in a more efficient way," said participant Gonzalo Pacheco.
Chilean government officials also came out to support the forward thinking fair.
"Those who today participate in this fair, who today step up to this challenge, who-- like the provost said-- are learning today in the race to get a better vehicle, they are the people who will be the leaders that the country needs in development of renewable energy sources for the future," said Energy and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.
Participants joined resources and shared knowledge as they work to complete their cars ahead of the upcoming race, the first of its kind in Latin America.