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It’s Hammer Time: 17th Annual Solar Cup™ Launches


Saws will be whizzing, drills will be buzzing and sawdust will be flying this Saturday (Nov. 3) as more than 400 students from high schools across five Southern California counties transform boxes of marine-grade plywood into 16-foot canoe-like hulls, kicking off the Metropolitan Water District of Southern Californias 17th annual Solar Cup„¢ competition.

The nations largest contest of its kind, Solar Cup is a seven-month program in which high school teams use problem-solving, creativity, collaboration and engineering skills to build solar-powered boats and then test their speed and endurance. This years challenge officially launches with a boat-building workshop Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Three Valleys Municipal Water District, 1021 E. Miramar Ave. in Claremont.

Solar Cup culminates with races May 17-19, 2019 at Metropolitans Lake Skinner in the Temecula Valley in Riverside County. The competition, which is open to the public, promotes learning about Southern Californias water resources, resource management, conservation and alternative energy development.

The boat-building event is part of a series of workshops and activities throughout Solar Cup season. Students, some handling tools for the first time, will use Metropolitan-provided boat hull kits, building instructions, saws, nails, screws, sandpaper, paintbrushes and epoxy to build hulls, with the help of their teachers and Metropolitans education program leaders.

Then the competitive work begins. In the months ahead, teams will dedicate countless hours, working together to apply math, physics and engineering skills to equip the boats with steering, solar panels, batteries and sun-driven motors producing up to 320 watts. The maximum weight of the boats, including the skipper, is 450 pounds.

Solar Cup began in 2002 with eight schools and 100 students. Although Saturdays workshop is limited to 12 students from each team, about 850 total students from 42 high schools in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties are participating in this years competition (list of participating schools attached).

In May, teams will gather and compete against each other in two races “ a 200-meter sprint race, in which boats reach up to 15 miles per hour, and an endurance race, which is won by the boat that circles a 1.6-kilometer course the most times during two 90-minute heats.

As part of the competition, students also accumulate points through the submission of two technical reports and a water conservation public service announcement.

While Metropolitan provides the teams with the boat kits and tools, local member agencies and retailers financially sponsor them, providing $4,000 to new teams and $2,500 to returning teams to fully build and equip their boats.

More information, event videos and photos from past Solar Cup events can be found at

Note to editors: Digital photographs and video of the boat-building workshop will be available.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, serves nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to 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
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Franklin High School Los Angeles
Three Valleys MWD* Ganesha High School Pomona
City of Glendale Glendale High School Glendale
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 Ca±ada High School La Ca±ada 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

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Maritza Fairfield
(909) 816-7722, mobile
Rebecca Kimitch
(202) 821-5253, mobile

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