Published : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | 7:19 PM
John Muir High and La Canada High schools will be two of the 39 high schools throughout Southern California that will be competing in the Metropolitan Water District’s Solar Cup, the nation’s largest solar-power boat competition.
Teams from high schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties are participating May 17-19 in the 11th annual Solar Cup at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner, just north of Temecula, according to a news statement.
Since the inaugural event launched with just eight boats in 2002, nearly 9,000 students have participated in Solar Cup, according to the statement.
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.
“Every team is given the same core materials, instructions and requirements, but their experience is as varied as their boats, which they distinguish through innovation and artistry,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Miller, a state-certified teacher in Metropolitan’s education programs.
“Many students come out of this experience with an increased interest in pursuing engineering and other fields that could lead them to a job in the water industry,” Miller said.
The competition begins Friday as teams are put through a series of qualifying events by Metropolitan and a technical advisory team from Harvey Mudd and Occidental colleges to ensure boats meet rules and are safe and seaworthy.
Saturday will feature single-seat, solar-powered 16-foot boats outfitted with solar-collection panels in endurance races around a 1.6-kilometer course.
Sunday 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.
Races are easily visible from the shore at the event, which 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 in the Temecula Valley community of Winchester in southwest Riverside County—about 10 miles northeast of the Rancho California Road exit off Interstate 15.
Event videos and photos from past Solar Cup events can be found under Education Programs at Metropolitan’s website, mwdh2o.com.