Solar Cup is a youth program hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) that provides high school teams an opportunity to build and prepare a solar powered boat over a seven-month timeline.
The teams compete in both sprint and endurance events with their boats as well as prepare technical reports and a work plan for a Public Service Announcement.
Solar-powered boats work by harnessing electric energy gained from photovoltaic (PV) cells. Expert technical assistance from an outside vendor helps teach participating students/teachers each of the steps necessary to build and operate a safe, solar powered boat.
Motorized water vehicles typically result in oil or other petroleum products making their way into the water supply. Using solar power boats helps protect water quality since there are no oil or petroleum products released into the water. The use of solar power also reduces emissions as well as noise pollution.
The three-day event is the culmination of several months of planning and building. It is the nation’s largest solar-boat competition. The experience provides students with:
- A hands-on opportunity to work with alternative energy sources.
- Opportunity to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Experience in working as a team.
- Awareness of potential technology that can be developed to help conserve water and energy.
- Awareness of the diversity of engineering and design careers related to the water industry.
- A better understanding of the need for responsible use of natural resources.
To participate, a high school team must be sponsored by a MWD member agency, such as the Upper District.
The 2017 Solar Cup took place on May 19-21, 2017 at Lake Skinner, located in Temecula, California. This year, the Upper District was very proud to sponsor competing teams from Arcadia High School, La Puente High School, Mountain View High School, and West Covina High School.