Riverside’s Norte Vista High School is Frontrunner as Three-Day Solar Cup™ Kicks off at Lake Skinner

Metropolitan Water District’s 16th annual boat race—nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition—hits the water today

TEMECULA, Calif.--()--Riverside’s Norte Vista High School has the early lead in Metropolitan Water District’s 16th annual Solar Cup™, which launches today at Lake Skinner.

Heading into racing competition, Norte Vista has the top preliminary score among the 38 teams from across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties that are competing in the three-day solar-powered boat competition at Metropolitan’s southwest Riverside County reservoir. Teams will qualify on the water today before racing competition begins Saturday (May 19) and culminates Sunday (May 20).

Norte Vista’s early lead is based on preliminary scores earned in the months leading up to this weekend, with the team notching 345 points out of 360. Many of those points came from Norte Vista’s informative and light-hearted public service message, which offered fellow students tips on how to conserve water.

Under Solar Cup’s public service message component, teams produced Snapchat-based videos and photo campaigns encouraging people to conserve water, based on this year’s theme “Water conservation: it’s not about the weather, it’s about forever.” In addition to the 230 points earned for its public service entry, Norte Vista earned high scores for two technical progress reports and meeting various deadlines.

“We have some great conservation-themed messages this year—these teams really took the water conservation message to heart and crafted creative, effective messages to share with their communities and encourage them to make conservation a way of life,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Kalbacher, a state-certified teacher with Metropolitan’s education programs. “Now, the fun on the water begins.”

Closely trailing Norte Vista is Huntington Beach’s Coast High School in second place, with 341 points. Burbank High School and Narbonne High School in Harbor City are tied for third place, each with 340 points. Costa Mesa High School is leading the pack of rookie teams.

The more than 600 students participating in this year’s Solar Cup have been working after school and on weekends for months to build their boats, making them as fast and reliable as possible using the math and science they’ve learned in class and the engineering lessons they received during Metropolitan’s boat-building workshops.

“Now they get to put all that hard work to a very fun test,” Kalbacher said. “These kids are competing, but more than that, they’re having fun, helping one another, and learning about engineering and natural resources.”

Today’s qualifying events will ensure boats are safe and seaworthy. The competition heats up Saturday when the single-seat, 16-foot boats outfitted with solar-collection panels compete in endurance races around a 1.6-kilometer course in the morning and afternoon.

On Sunday, the boats’ solar panels are removed and their energy-storing capabilities are put to the test as they compete in 200-meter sprint races 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 easily visible from the shore, and the event is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking. Lake Skinner is at 37701 Warren Road, Winchester, in the Temecula Valley of southwest Riverside County—about 10 miles northeast of the Rancho California Road exit off Interstate 15.

Over the past 16 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.

The competition allows students to apply their skills in math, physics, engineering and communications and learn more about Southern California’s water sources and alternative energy development. It has inspired future engineers, water resource managers and conservationists, helping build the workforce needed to produce smart solutions to future environmental and water problems.

Teams are divided into four regions—the Foothill, Central & Bay, Inland Empire and South Counties regions. Solar Cup also includes a rookie division for first-time teams.

Learn more about Solar Cup at mwdh2o.com and here. Longer videos also are available for use here. Photos and video of this year's event are available upon request.

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 2018 Solar Cup Teams


Member Agency Sponsor

Team/School Name

School District


Anaheim Public Utilities     Anaheim High School     Anaheim Union HS District     Anaheim
Burbank Water & Power     Burbank High School     Burbank USD     Burbank
Long Beach Water Department     Cabrillo High School**     Long Beach USD     Long Beach
Las Virgenes MWD     Calabasas High School     Las Virgenes USD     Calabasas
Inland Empire Utilities Agency*     Chino High School     Chino Valley USD     Chino
Municipal Water District of Orange County*     Coast High School     Huntington Beach Union HS District     Huntington Beach
City of Compton     Compton High School     Compton USD     Compton
Municipal Water District of Orange County*     Costa Mesa High School**     Newport Mesa USD     Costa Mesa
San Diego County Water Authority     Del Lago Academy     Escondido Unified HS District     Escondido
Central Basin MWD     Downey High School     Downey USD     Downey
Western MWD*     Elsinore HS / Lakeside HS     Lake Elsinore USD     Wildomar
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power     Franklin High School     Los Angeles USD     Los Angeles
Three Valleys MWD*     Fremont Academy of Engineering & Design     Pomona USD     Pomona
Three Valleys MWD*     Ganesha High School     Pomona USD     Pomona
Eastern MWD     Hemet USD Team     Hemet USD     Hemet
San Diego County Water Authority     High Tech High North County     San Marcos USD     San Marcos
Pasadena Water & Power     John Muir High School     Pasadena USD     Pasadena
San Diego County Water Authority     Kearny High School (School of Engineering, Innovation & Design)**     San Diego USD     San Diego
Foothill MWD*     La Cañada High School     La Cañada USD     La Cañada Flintridge
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD     Los Altos High School     Hacienda La Puente USD     Hacienda Heights
Inland Empire Utilities Agency*     Los Osos High School     Cucamonga School District     Rancho Cucamonga
Long Beach Water Department     McBride High School     Long Beach USD     Long Beach
West Basin MWD     Mira Costa High School     Manhattan Beach USD     Manhattan Beach
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD     Mountain View High School     El Monte Union HS District     El Monte
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power     Narbonne High School     Los Angeles USD     Harbor City
Western MWD*     Norte Vista High School     Riverside USD     Riverside
Eastern MWD     Nuview Bridge Early College HS     Nuview Union School District     Nuevo
Municipal Water District of Orange County*     Oxford Academy     Cypress School District     Cypress
West Basin MWD     Palos Verdes Peninsula High School     Palos Verdes Peninsula USD     Rolling Hills Estates
Central Basin MWD     Paramount High School West     Paramount USD     Paramount
Eastern MWD     Perris Union High SD Team (Heritage HS; Paloma Valley HS; Perris HS)     Romoland School District     Romoland
Western MWD*     Riverside Poly High School     Riverside USD     Riverside
Three Valleys MWD     San Dimas High School     Bonita USD     San Dimas
Long Beach Water Department     Sato High School     Long Beach USD     Long Beach
Inland Empire Utilities Agency*     Upland High School**     Chaffey Joint Union High SD     Upland
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power     Venice HS STEMM Magnet     Los Angeles USD     Los Angeles
West Basin MWD     Waterfront Education**     Los Angeles USD     Redondo Beach
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD     West Covina High School     West Covina USD     West Covina
* = has co-sponsor(s)
** = Rookie


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


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