High School Students Ready to Channel the Sun at Solar Cup

Metropolitan Water District’s 15th annual Solar Cup™ competition gives students hands-on learning opportunities in conservation, engineering

LOS ANGELES--()--Teams of high school students from across Southern California will put their engineering and building skills to the test this weekend as they race the solar-powered boats they spent the last seven months building as part of the Metropolitan Water District’s 15th annual Solar Cup™.

The nation’s largest solar-powered boating competition, this year’s Solar Cup includes more than 700 students on teams from 43 high schools from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. They will race in sprint and endurance races at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in southwest Riverside County’s Temecula Valley beginning Friday, May 19 and concluding Sunday, May 21.

The weekend marks the culmination of a seven-month program in which the students designed and built 16-foot, single-seat boats, powered only by the sun. Along the way, they were taught hands-on lessons in water resources, alternative energy development and sustainability while applying math, science and engineering lessons they learned in the classroom.

“These students have learned a lot in the classroom as well as in hands-on technical training workshops held by Metropolitan. They’ve worked together building and brainstorming. Now they’ll have a chance to put all that training and teamwork to use in a fun and exciting competition,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Kalbacher, a state-certified teacher with Metropolitan’s education programs. “Learning about renewable energy and water conservation in a program like this often inspires a lifelong interest in science and math.”

The hope is that some of the students will go on to careers in engineering, alternative energy development, resource management, environment sciences or other related fields, Miller said.

“Solar Cup offers valuable lessons to all students—requiring them to think creatively and critically to find practical solutions to challenges and then put those solutions to use, like they will have to in the real world,” she added.

Over the past 15 years, more than 10,000 students have participated in Solar Cup. The program began in 2002 with eight teams and about 80 students. In the years since, it has grown into the nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition.

Students began building their boats last fall 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.

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 19 the boats will be qualified and tested on Lake Skinner. The competition begins Saturday, May 20, when the teams face off in two 90-minute endurance heats around a 1.6-kilometer course and continues Sunday, May 21, with 200-meter sprint races in which the boats are powered by solar energy stored in batteries.

Solar Cup culminates 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 43 teams in this year’s Solar Cup are two schools participating for the first time. They will compete in a rookie division.

As part of the program, the teams also created compelling video and social media campaigns on the importance of water conservation. Teams produced either a 60-second, self-scripted conservation video or social media campaign under the theme, “Changing Climate, Lifelong Conservation.” In addition to the racing results, teams earn points from these public service messages, as well as technical inspections and completion of technical reports.

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.

Learn more about Solar Cup at mwdh2o.com and here.

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.

2017 Solar Cup School List            

City

    School Name     Member Agency Sponsor     Co-Sponsor Agencies
           
Los Angeles     Academia Avance     Los Angeles DWP      
Huntington Park     Alliance Collins Family College Ready High School     Central Basin MWD      
Anaheim     Anaheim High School     Anaheim Public Utilities      
Arcadia     Arcadia High School     Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD      
Los Angeles     Banning Academies of Creative And Innovative Sciences (BACIS)     Los Angeles DWP      
Burbank     Burbank High School     Burbank Water & Power      
Calabasas     Calabasas High School     Las Virgenes MWD      
Chino     Chino High School     Inland Empire Utilities Agency     City of Chino
Chino Hills     Chino Hills High School     Inland Empire Utilities Agency     City of Chino Hills
Huntington Beach     Coast High School     Municipal Water District of OC     City of Huntington Beach
Compton     Compton High School     City of Compton      
Escondido     Del Lago Academy     San Diego County Water Authority      
Pomona     Diamond Ranch High School     Three Valleys MWD     Walnut Valley Water District, City of Pomona
Downey     Downey High School     Central Basin MWD      
Wildomar     Elsinore HS / Lakeside HS     Western MWD     Elsinore Valley MWD
Lawndale     Environmental Charter High School     West Basin MWD      
Los Angeles     Franklin High School     Los Angeles DWP      
Pomona     Fremont Academy of Engineering & Design     Three Valleys MWD     City of Pomona
San Marcos     High Tech High North County     San Diego County Water Authority      
Norwalk     John Glenn High School     Central Basin MWD      
Pasadena     John Muir High School     Pasadena Water & Power      
Fontana     Kaiser High School     Inland Empire Utilities Agency     Fontana Water Company
La Cañada Flintridge     La Cañada High School     Foothill MWD     La Cañada Irrigation District, Valley Water Co.
La Puente     La Puente High School     Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD      
Lennox     Lennox Academy     West Basin MWD      
Rancho Cucamonga     Los Osos High School     Inland Empire Utilities Agency     Cucamonga Valley Water
Long Beach     McBride High School     Long Beach Water Department      
Manhattan Beach     Mira Costa High School     West Basin MWD      
El Monte     Mountain View High School     Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD      
Murrieta     Murrieta Mesa High School     Eastern MWD     Rancho California Water District
Riverside     Norte Vista High School     Western MWD     Riverside Public Utilities
Nuevo     Nuview Bridge Early College HS     Eastern MWD     Rancho California Water District
Cypress     Oxford Academy     Municipal Water District of OC     Golden State Water
Palos Verdes Estates     Palos Verdes High School     West Basin MWD      
Paramount     Paramount High School West     Central Basin MWD      
Romoland     Perris Union High SD Team (Heritage HS; Paloma Valley HS; Perris HS)     Eastern MWD     Rancho California Water District
Burbank     Providence High School     Burbank Water & Power      
Riverside     Riverside Poly High School     Western MWD     Riverside Public Utilities
San Dimas     San Dimas High School     Three Valleys MWD     Golden State Water
La Puente     Santana High School     Three Valleys MWD     Rowland Water District
Temecula     Temecula Valley Team (Chaparral HS/ Great Oak HS /Temecula Valley HS)     Eastern MWD     Rancho California Water District
Los Angeles     Venice HS STEMM Magnet     Los Angeles DWP      
West Covina     West Covina High School     Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD      

Contacts

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Rebecca Kimitch, (213) 217-6450; (202) 821-5253, mobile
Bob Muir, (213) 217-6930; (213) 324-5213, mobile

Contacts

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Rebecca Kimitch, (213) 217-6450; (202) 821-5253, mobile
Bob Muir, (213) 217-6930; (213) 324-5213, mobile