Students from 39 Southern California high schools will be low-speed racing on the waters of Lake Skinner near Murrieta starting today in a contest that requires the competitors to power their rigs using nothing but solar energy.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 10th annual Solar Cup Competition will continue to Sunday, featuring teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.
Today, MWD officials will be inspecting contestants’ boats to ensure maneuverability and safety during practice runs.
Riverside County schools entered in the competition are:
– Centennial High School, Corona;
– Jurupa Valley High School, Jurupa Valley;
– Riverside County High School, Jurupa Valley;
– Paloma Valley High School, Menifee
– Nuview Bridge Early College High School, Nuevo;
– San Jacinto High School, San Jacinto;
– San Jacinto Valley Academy, San Jacinto;
– Temecula Valley High School, Temecula; and
– Elsinore High School, Wildomar.
Students have spent the last seven months readying their hand-built boats, composing technical reports and putting together a water-conservation presentation — all of which will be judged and awarded points in the event.
“What makes this competition so unique compared to other science-based events is that it’s inter-disciplinary,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Miller. “It not only fits science, technology, engineering and math core curriculum guidelines, but it also integrates the environmental sciences, along with visual and language arts, into the program’s learning objectives.”
On Saturday, the single-person skiffs will hit the water, deploying solar-collection panels to motor through a 1-mile endurance race.
On Sunday, 200-meter sprint races are planned, with the boaters relying on batteries charged by absorbed sunlight to power their rigs, according to the MWD.
An awards ceremony is scheduled after the last races Sunday, during which trophies in the “veteran” and “newcomer” divisions will be handed out, as well as awards for teamwork, sportsmanship and the “hottest-looking boat,” according to the MWD.
Since 2002, roughly 8,000 students have taken part in the solar boat races, according to the agency.