The Schulich I is the University of Calgary's race entry, seen here at a test run at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park in May. ((John McDonald))

Fifteen solar-powered cars, including four managed by teams from Canadian schools, rolled out of a suburb of Dallas, Texas, on Sunday en route to Calgary in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge.

Teams from the University of Calgary, University of Waterloo, Queen's University and Red River College in Manitoba were among the qualifiers for the 3,862-km race, which ends on July 22 at the University of Calgary.

The competition to design, build and race solar-powered cars is sponsored by automaker Toyota and is meant to promote renewable energy technologies and provide hands-on experience for students.

It's the second time race participants will travel through Canada — mostly on the Trans-Canada Highway — as part of the journey. Stages of the race on July 20 and July 22 will begin in Winnipeg and Medicine Hat, Alta., with checkpoints at Brandon, Man., and Regina in between. An awards ceremony will be held in Calgary on July 23.

The last time the race was held was in 2005. A similar event, the World Solar Challenge, ran in 2007 in the Australian Outback.