After seven months of hands-on learning about water conservation, solar energy and engineering, teams of high school students from across the Southland are ready to put their skills and their solar-powered boats to the test in the nation’s largest solar boating competition, Metropolitan Water District’s 14th annual Solar Cup.
Starting this Friday and continuing through Sunday, 38 teams from high schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties will race boats they have built in sprint and endurance races at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in southwest Riverside County’s Temecula Valley.
“Solar Cup gives students an opportunity to take concepts they’ve learned in the classroom and apply them in a practical way focused on conservation and alternative energy development,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Miller, a state-certified teacher with Metropolitan’s education programs. “That experience often fosters a life-long interest in science, math, engineering, renewable energy, resource management and the environment and leads students into careers in which they may not have otherwise been interested.”
Students began building their single-seat, 16-foot, solar-powered boats last November and have worked with their sponsoring Metropolitan member and local water agencies to equip the boats with solar panels, batteries, electrical systems, drive trains, propellers and rudders. They’ve worked nights and weekends since to maximize their boats’ endurance, speed and mechanical and electrical efficiencies. The teams also created unique and compelling video and social media campaigns on the importance of water conservation.
Teams are put through a series of qualifying events by Metropolitan and a technical advisory team from Occidental College to ensure boats meet the program’s requirements and are safe and seaworthy.
On Friday, May 13, the boats are tested on Lake Skinner. The competition begins Saturday, May 14, when the teams face off in 90-minute endurance heats around a 1.6 kilometer course and continues Sunday, May 15, with 200-meter sprint races in which the boats are powered by solar energy stored in batteries. The activities culminate with an awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Trophies are 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.
Among the 38 teams in this year’s Solar Cup are three schools participating for the first time. They will compete in a rookie division.
In addition to points earned in the races, teams can earn points from technical inspections, completion of technical reports and creation of a public service message project. These messages focus on water conservation in the form of a 60-second, self-scripted and produced, conservation video or social media campaign under the theme, “Conservation Rain or Shine.”
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.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.
List of 2016 Solar Cup Teams
Member Agency Sponsor
|Academia Avance||Los Angeles||Los Angeles DWP|
|Alliance Collins Family College Ready HS**||Huntington Park||Central Basin MWD|
|Anaheim High School||Anaheim||Anaheim Public Utilities|
|Arcadia High School||Arcadia||Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD|
|Burbank High School||Burbank||Burbank Water & Power|
|Calabasas High School||Calabasas||Las Virgenes MWD|
|Chino High School||Chino||Inland Empire Utilities Agency*|
|Chino Hills High School||Chino Hills||Inland Empire Utilities Agency*|
|Coast High School||Huntington Beach||Municipal Water District of Orange County*|
|Compton High School||Compton||City of Compton|
|David Gonzales School||Calabasas||Las Virgenes MWD|
|Del Lago Academy||Escondido||San Diego County Water Authority|
|Downey High School||Downey||Central Basin MWD|
|Elsinore HS / Lakeside HS||Wildomar||Western MWD*|
|Franklin High School||Los Angeles||Los Angeles DWP|
|Ganesha High School||Pomona||Three Valleys MWD|
|Hemet USD Team||Hemet||Eastern MWD|
|High Tech High North County||San Marcos||San Diego County Water Authority|
|John Muir High School||Pasadena||Pasadena Water & Power|
|Kaiser High School**||Fontana||Inland Empire Utilities Agency*|
|La Cañada High School||La Cañada Flintridge||Foothill MWD*|
|Laguna Beach High School||Laguna Beach||Municipal Water District of Orange County*|
|Lennox Academy||Lennox||West Basin MWD|
|McBride High School||Long Beach||Long Beach Water Department|
|Mountain View High School||El Monte||Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD|
|Nogales High School||La Puente||Three Valleys MWD|
|Norte Vista High School||Riverside||Western MWD*|
|Nuview Bridge Early College HS||Nuevo||Eastern MWD|
|Palos Verdes High School||Palos Verdes Estates||West Basin MWD|
|Palos Verdes Peninsula High School||Rolling Hills Estates||West Basin MWD|
|Paramount High School West||Paramount||Central Basin MWD|
|Perris Union High SD Team||Romoland||Eastern MWD|
|Providence High School||Burbank||Burbank Water & Power|
|Riverside Poly High School||Riverside||Western MWD*|
|Santana High School||La Puente||Three Valleys MWD|
|Savanna High School||Anaheim||Anaheim Public Utilities|
|Venice HS STEMM Magnet**||Los Angeles||Los Angeles DWP|
|West Covina High School||West Covina||Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD|
|* = has co-sponsor(s)|
|** = rookie team|