The nation's largest solar-powered boat competition, the Solar Cup, is set to take place on May 15-17 at Lake Skinner in California.
Organized by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the event is expected to attract close to 1,000 students from 41 high schools.
Beginning in September, Solar Cup is a seven-month educational program in which high school students throughout Southern California build and race solar-powered boats while learning about local water supply sources, conservation, resource management, electrical and mechanical engineering, problem solving, and communication.
In addition to boat-building, teams are required to submit three technical reports on electrical, solar power collection, and steering systems; create a water conservation public service message; and, present a water conservation activity at the event.
The SolarCup, which began in 2002 with eight teams and about 80 students, has become the nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition with about 9,000 students having taken part.
Teams such as returning team in the veteran division, Laguna Beach High School (LBHS), are required to build a new boat each year, but may use equipment from previous boats, such as solar panels, batteries, and motors.
Over the past few months, working alongside Laguna Beach County Water District staff, the LBHS team have assembled a 16-foot-long hull, and will furnish the boat with propellers, rudders, solar panels, batteries, electrical systems, and drive trains.
“We are excited to be sponsoring students from Laguna Beach High School to compete in this year’s Solar Cup competition,” says Renae Hinchey, Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager.
“This program is unique in that it provides hands-on learning experience to the students while incorporating fundamental learning objectives such as math, science, and engineering, as well as fostering creativity and teamwork. We are continually impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to the program each year.”