The nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition takes shape Nov. 4-5 as teams of high school students from five Southern California counties assemble the 16-foot hulls they will equip and race next spring as part of Metropolitan Water District’s 16th annual Solar Cup™ competition.
What began in 2002 with eight teams and about 80 students is now the largest solar-powered boat competition in the United States, showcasing technical ingenuity, scientific skills, creativity and collaboration. This year, about 800 students are expected to participate on 39 Solar Cup™ teams in the three-day competition next spring at Lake Skinner in Riverside County (see attached participant list).
Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 4) and Sunday (Nov. 5), teams will gather at Three Valleys Municipal Water District headquarters—at 1021 E. Miramar Ave in Claremont—to build identical, canoe-like hulls from kits of pre-cut, marine-grade plywood. Once the hulls are formed, teams return to their schools to equip them over the next seven months with motors, batteries, solar-collection panels, rudders and steering systems.
The Solar Cup™ 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 resources, resource management, conservation and alternative energy development.
The Solar Cup™ competition is May 18-20, 2018 at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner near Temecula, where the teams will compete in endurance and sprint races. The event is open to the public.
As part of the program, Metropolitan provides the hull kits and tool boxes and sponsors technical workshops for the teams and their teachers/advisors that represent schools in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In most cases, Metropolitan’s member water agencies and, in some cases, local water retailers, sponsor the teams to help equip the boats.
The 2018 Solar Cup™ program includes five first-time rookie teams that will compete against each other. Another 34 returning or veteran teams must build a new hull but may re-use motors, batteries, solar panels and other equipment.
Teams also are required to submit technical reports and create conservation-themed content for social media. Winners in the rookie and veteran divisions will have the highest number of points from the competition, plus points awarded for attendance at workshops, technical reports and producing social media content.
The 2017 Solar Cup™ program featured teams from 43 high schools. Riverside Poly High School in Riverside, won first place in the veteran’s division, followed by Oxford Academy and Calabasas High School in second and third place overall. Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach took the top prize in the rookie division.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California | http://www.mwdh2o.com