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Youngsters team up to build solar-powered float

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Young mechanics have teamed up to bring something different to this year’s May 24 parade: a float that generates its own power.

The group have been working in the yard of older relative Abdullah Furqan.

“I like doing creative things,” said 10-year-old Aaron Simmons, who with Damion Simmons, 11, and Nalae Simmons, seven, has been soldering wires to solar cells under his grandfather’s instruction. Also taking part in the project are Machari and Majhai Furqan, 11 and nine respectively.

Damion and Nalae hail from Devonshire and the others are from Pembroke, but all five are at home in Mr Furqan’s house, where a workshop spills out into a yard full of hardware.

“It took us probably a year to get to this,” said Majhai, standing next to the float that’s taking shape just below Palmetto Road.

Machari added: “We’ve been coming here most days to work on it, getting it ready for the parade.”

A roof mounted on top of an old Mazda is being equipped with panels of solar cells built by the children.

Mr Furqan conceived of the float as a tribute to his son Bilal, who lost his life cliff diving at Admiralty House Park in 2011.

He decided to use it as a lesson for his young relatives to learn about building solar panels, and obtaining different strengths of current from the sun-powered arrays.

“It’s basically teaching them how to provide for themselves if the push comes to the shove — which is especially important here in Bermuda,” Mr Furqan said.

He bought the solar cells from a company in China, and set his grandchildren and grandnephews to work soldering wires to them and sticking them down.

When they’re combined, the solar arrays should be able to put out 3,000 watts.

The car itself will run off regular gasoline; the green electricity, stored in batteries, will go to supply lights and appliances on board the float, and show how solar power can be put to use.

“I only buy the solar cells — they have to be converted to panels,” explained Mr Furqan, who next plans to teach his young students about wind generators.

“The way I see it, it’s a good programme for family. It’s not that difficult to build, and it gets everybody working together.”

Solar float: Pictured (from left) are Aaron Simmons 10, Majhai Furqan, nine, Damion Simmons, 11, and Machari Furqan, 11. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Solar-powered float: Pictured is Abdullah Furqan (front) with proteges (back, from left) Majhai Furqan 9, Aaron Simmons 10, Machari Furqan 11 and Damion Simmons 11. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 20, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm)

Youngsters team up to build solar-powered float

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