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May 21st, 2008

NFA Solar Car on Discovery Channel

Members of the Newburgh Free Academy Solar Racing Team and team advisors Chris Eachus and Dane Le Roy help load the bottom half of the NFA Solar Car into an 18-wheeler. The vehicle is being transported to Los Angeles, CA, to be a part of a new series titled “Battleground Earth” on the Discovery Channels’ soon-to-be-launched Planet Green Network.

Newburgh -

The Newburgh Enlarged City School District recently announced that a solar vehicle belonging to the Newburgh Free Academy Solar Racing Team has been selected as one of two solar-powered vehicles to appear in a new series on the Discovery Channel’s soon-to-be launched Planet Green Network.

According to team advisor Christopher Eachus, a Discovery Channel representative contacted Ameresco, an independent energy solutions company that supports Newburgh Free Academy Solar Racing Team through the company’s Better Schools Partnership, in search of a solar car for an upcoming television series on Discovery’s new network Planet Green. The new series, "Battleground Earth," challenges two celebrities, rapper/actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and musician Tommy Lee, to "go green" as they travel across the country on a 10-episode tour in competition with one another to save the earth. According to the Discovery Channel’s Planet Green website, the series is tentatively scheduled to air in the third quarter of 2008.

Ameresco contacted Eachus on Friday about using the NFA Solar Car for the new series. "Ameresco called us and said, ‘Is your car available?’" said Eachus. The second car being used in the series is being provided by Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.

Since receiving the news on Friday, Eachus and the team have been working around the clock to get their vehicle ready. Yesterday, Eachus, along with welding teacher and co-advisor Dane Le Roy and several members of the NFA Solar Racing Team, finished preparing the vehicle and helped load it into an 18-wheeler. The car is headed out to sunny Los Angeles. Eachus and NFA senior and team co-caption Jamie Tabanao will travel to California to be with the car. "Jamie has worked day and night with me. It’s perfect," said Eachus.

Since the phone call, Eachus says that everything has happened incredibly fast, but he thanked the Newburgh Enlarged City School District officials on behalf of himself and the team for giving them the clearance to be a part of this special opportunity.

"It was very gracious of the school district to do that on a snap notice," said Eachus of their decision.

The NFA Solar Racing Team began 14 years ago. Over the years, team members have created seven solar cars and three solar bikes. The team also has two electric vehicles.

Recently, the NFA Solar Racing Team announced a change in the team’s direction by building smaller, electric vehicles. Currently, the team is in the process of building a new electric vehicle and rebuilding the electric "Jay Bird II."

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