Annual Solar Cup Boat Race to Take Place This Weekend in California

Solar Cup 2015

Seven months of intense, hands-on learning about water conservation, solar energy, engineering and teamwork culminates this weekend as nearly 1,000 high school students participate in the nation’s largest solar boating competition, Metropolitan Water District’s 13th annual Solar Cup™.

Beginning Friday (May 15), 41 teams from high schools (see accompanying list) in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties i California will race hand-built boats they have equipped with solar panels, batteries, electrical systems, drive trains and rudders at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in southwest Riverside County’s Temecula Valley. The competition also features multimedia water conservation public service messages created by the student teams.

“Solar Cup supplements textbook curriculum with hands-on experience giving these bright students an opportunity to learn about California’s natural resources, while fostering an interest in science, math, environmental and engineering careers,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Miller, a state-certified teacher in Metropolitan’s education programs.

“As drought conditions persist, we are confident these students will lead their generation in creating a new normal for water conservation based on insight gained from this experience,” Miller added.

About 10,000 students have participated in Solar Cup since the inaugural event launched in 2002 with just eight boats. The program is a team-based educational competition that allows students to apply their skills in math, physics, engineering and communications, while learning about Southern California’s water sources, resource management, conservation and alternative energy development.

The competition begins with teams being put through a series of qualifying events to ensure boats meet rules and are safe and seaworthy. Saturday, May 16, will feature single-seat, 16-foot boats outfitted with solar-collection panels in endurance races around a 1-kilometer course.

Sunday, May 17, is highlighted by 200-meter sprint races—in which the solar panels are removed and the boats are powered by solar energy stored in batteries. The races will be followed by an awards ceremony, with trophies awarded in veteran and rookie divisions for teams with the highest points, as well as to teams honored for “Hottest-Looking Boat,” teamwork and sportsmanship.

The races are open to the public and easily visible from the lake shoreline. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking. Lake Skinner is at 37701 Warren Road in the Temecula Valley community of Winchester in southwest Riverside County—about 10 miles northeast of the Rancho California Road exit off Interstate 15.

Since building identical hulls last November from kits supplied by Metropolitan, students have worked nights and weekends to maximize their boats’ endurance, speed and mechanical and electrical efficiencies. In advance of the three-day event, teams are now fine-tuning their hand-built boats.

In addition to 32 teams in the veterans division, Solar Cup features nine teams in a rookie division for first-time participating schools. Teams also are divided into four regions—the Foothill, Central & Bay, Inland Empire and South Counties regions.

Teams earn points in the competition, along with totals from technical inspections, completion of technical reports and creation of a public service message project. The messages focus on water conservation in the form of a 30- to 60-second, self-scripted and produced, conservation video or audiotape; a brochure; or another related project under the theme “Don’t waste another minute wasting water.”

2015 Solar Cup™ Team List

Team/School NameCityMember Agency SponsorCo-Sponsor Agency
Academia AvanceLos AngelesLos Angeles Dept of Water and Power
Anaheim High SchoolAnaheimAnaheim Public Utilities
Arcadia High SchoolArcadiaUpper San Gabriel Valley MWD
Burbank High School*BurbankBurbank Water & Power
Calabasas High SchoolCalabasasLas Virgenes MWD
California Academy of Math & ScienceCarsonWest Basin MWD
Chino High SchoolChinoInland Empire Utilities AgencyCity of Chino
Chino Hills High School*Chino HillsInland Empire Utilities AgencyCity of Chino Hills
Claremont High SchoolClaremontThree Valleys MWD
Coast High School*Huntington BeachMunicipal Water District of Orange CountyCity of Huntington Beach
Compton High SchoolComptonCity of Compton
David Gonzales SchoolCalabasasLas Virgenes MWD
Del Lago Academy*EscondidoSan Diego County Water Authority
Downey High SchoolDowneyCentral Basin MWD
Elsinore HS / Lakeside HSWildomarWestern MWDElsinore Valley MWD
Environmental Charter HSLawndaleWest Basin MWD
Franklin High SchoolLos AngelesLos Angeles Department of Water and Power
Fremont Academy of Engineering & DesignPomonaThree Valleys MWD
High Tech High North CountySan MarcosSan Diego County Water Authority
John Glenn High SchoolNorwalkCentral Basin MWD
John Muir High SchoolPasadenaPasadena Water & Power
La Cañada High SchoolLa Cañada FlintridgeFoothill MWDLa Cañada Irrigation District
Laguna Beach High SchoolLaguna BeachMunicipal Water District of Orange CountyLaguna Beach County Water District
Lennox Academy*LennoxWest Basin MWD
Long Beach Poly High SchoolLong BeachLong Beach Water Department
Los Osos High SchoolRancho CucamongaInland Empire Utilities AgencyCucamonga Valley Water District
McBride High School*Long BeachLong Beach Water Department
Moreno Valley USD TeamMoreno ValleyEastern MWDRancho California Water District
Mountain View High SchoolEl MonteUpper San Gabriel Valley MWD

Murrieta Valley USD / Perris Union High SD Team

MurrietaEastern MWDRancho California Water District
Norte Vista High SchoolRiversideWestern MWDRiverside Public Utilities
Nuview Bridge Early College HSNuevoEastern MWDRancho California Water District
Oak Park High SchoolOak ParkCalleguas MWD
Oxford Academy*CypressMunicipal Water District of Orange County
Paramount High School WestParamountCentral Basin MWD
Providence High SchoolBurbankBurbank Water & Power
Riverside Poly High School*RiversideWestern MWDRiverside Public Utilities
San Dimas High SchoolSan DimasThree Valleys MWD
Savanna High SchoolAnaheimAnaheim Public Utilities
West Covina High SchoolWest CovinaUpper San Gabriel Valley MWD
Western High School*AnaheimAnaheim Public Utilities

* Rookie Teams

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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