Solar Cup™ Teams Head to the Starting Line

About 750 Southern California students to race solar-powered boats
at Lake Skinner this weekend, May 17-19

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading up to the Metropolitan Water District’s action-packed 17th
annual Solar Cup this weekend, about 750 high school students will put
their teamwork, leadership and communication skills to the test along
with the application of academic concepts at the nation’s largest
solar-powered boat racing competition.

Starting this Friday (May 17) at Lake Skinner in the Temecula Valley,
teams of students from 40 Southland high schools will race their
self-built 16-foot, single-seat boats in sprint and endurance races,
capping seven months of preparation.

“I’m really proud of the kids here. To see them struggle, fail and then
succeed – it really puts it into perspective how much potential these
kids have,” said Calabasas High School robotics teacher and Solar Cup
adviser Michael Yeung. “Seeing them doing things they love and things
they never thought they could do almost brings a tear to my eye. It’s
just fantastic.”

Before they hit the water, 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, the boats will be qualified and tested on Lake

The competition kicks off Saturday, May 18, when the teams face off in
two 90-minute endurance heats around a 1.6-kilometer course, and
continues Sunday, May 19, with 200-meter sprint races. The event closes
with an awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

“I really like how you build an entire boat from scratch – with the wood
and frame, then the motor and electrical components, and then you get to
race it at the end, which is really fun,” said Mira Costa High senior
Ashley Anderson who joined the program her sophomore year.

“The most important thing I’ve learned is to manage your time, because
you have to time it out throughout the whole year and work together as a

To help students build their boats, Metropolitan’s member agencies
provide sponsorships of $2,500 for veteran teams and $4,000 for rookie
teams. This year, there are 10 rookie teams, the highest number of new
teams since Solar Cup’s early years.

Students spent afternoons and weekends for months building the boats,
deciding which solar panels, batteries, motors, propellers and other
components to buy. They then had the task of figuring out how to arrange
those components with the goal of creating the fastest boat possible.

“In addition to the veteran teams that return year after year, the
number of new teams we have in 2019 is a testament to the strength of
this program and the value it brings to students,” said Solar Cup
coordinator Julie Kalbacher, a state-certified teacher with
Metropolitan’s education programs.

The program also provides a lot of new experiences outside of academics,
she said, including spending the weekend camping at Lake Skinner. “For
some students, building their boat will be their first time using power
tools, others may have never been camping before, so camping at Lake
Skinner is very exciting,” she said.

As part of the program, the teams created social media campaigns on the
importance of water conservation, using their creativity to produce
Instagram stories under the theme “It’s a SoCal Thing: Conserve Water
Every Day, 365.” Along with racing results, teams earn points from these
public service messages, as well as technical inspections and completion
of technical reports.

Solar Cup began in 2002 with eight teams and about 100 students. In the
17 years since, it has grown into the nation’s largest solar-powered
boat competition. Along the way, more than 10,000 young men and women
have participated in Solar Cup competitions, learning about water
resource management, alternative energy development and sustainability.
Many have been inspired to pursue careers in math, physics, engineering
and environmental science. More information, event videos and photos
from past Solar Cup events can be found at

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a
state-established cooperative that delivers water to 26 member agencies
serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water
from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local
supplies, and helps develop increased water conservation, recycling,
storage and other resource-management programs.

Member Agency Sponsor     Team/High School     City
Anaheim Public Utilities Anaheim High School Anaheim
Burbank Water & Power Burbank High School Burbank
Long Beach Water Department Cabrillo High School Long Beach
Las Virgenes MWD Calabasas High School Calabasas
Western MWD* # Centennial High School Corona
West Basin MWD # Centinela Valley Union High SD Lawndale
Inland Empire Utilities Agency* Chino Hills High School Chino Hills
City of Compton Compton High School Compton
Municipal Water District of Orange County* Costa Mesa High School Costa Mesa
San Diego County Water Authority Del Lago Academy Escondido
Three Valleys MWD* Diamond Ranch High School Pomona
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD Don Bosco Technical Institute Rosemead
Central Basin MWD Downey High School Downey
Western MWD* # Eastvale STEM Academy @ Roosevelt HS Corona
Western MWD* Elsinore HS / Lakeside HS / Temescal Canyon HS Wildomar
Three Valleys MWD* Ganesha High School Pomona
Eastern MWD* Hemet USD Team (West Valley HS; Western Science Ctr; Hemet HS) Hemet
San Diego County Water Authority High Tech High North County San Marcos
Pasadena Water & Power John Muir High School Pasadena
Foothill MWD* La Cañada High School La Cañada Flintridge
West Basin MWD Lennox Math, Science & Technology Academy Lennox
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD Los Altos High School Hacienda Heights
Inland Empire Utilities Agency* Los Osos High School Rancho Cucamonga
Anaheim Public Utilities # Magnolia High School Anaheim
Long Beach Water Department McBride High School Long Beach
West Basin MWD Mira Costa High School Manhattan Beach
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD Mountain View High School El Monte
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Narbonne High School Harbor City
Three Valleys MWD* Nogales High School La Puente
Western MWD* Norte Vista High School Riverside
Las Virgenes MWD # Oaks Christian School Westlake Village
Municipal Water District of Orange County* Oxford Academy Cypress
West Basin MWD Palos Verdes High School Palos Verdes Estates
Eastern MWD* Perris Union High SD Team (Heritage HS; Perris HS) Romoland
Three Valleys MWD* # Pomona High School Pomona
Eastern MWD* # San Jacinto Valley Academy San Jacinto
Upper San Gabriel Valley MWD # Sierra Vista High School Baldwin Park
Eastern MWD* Temecula Valley USD Team (Chaparral HS / Great Oak HS) Temecula
Inland Empire Utilities Agency* Upland High School Upland
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power     Venice HS STEMM Magnet     Los Angeles
    *   Has Co-Sponsor(s)
# Rookie Team


Maritza Fairfield, (213) 217-6853; (909) 816-7722, mobile
Kimitch, (213) 217-6450; (202) 821-5253, mobile

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