LA Students Prepare For Solar Boat Races

May 13-15, 2011 are the dates slated for Los Angeles’ sunniest regatta, the Metropolitan Water District’s ninth annual Solar Cup program. But nearly 700 students from 42 high schools in six Southern California counties are starting preparations now for the race, building hulls for the solar-powered boats they will equip and race.

During the competition, scheduled for Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner (near Temecula in southwestern Riverside County), teams will compete in endurance and sprint races for the enjoyment and edification of the public (as well as glory and prizes). The program also has another aim: encouraging area high school students to attend college and to pursue careers in engineering, science, environmental issues and communication.

Solar Cup

image via Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

As part of the program, Metropolitan provides the hull kits and tool boxes and sponsors technical workshops for the teams and their teachers/advisors representing schools in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metropolitan’s member public water agencies (and, in some cases, local water retailers) then sponsor individual teams to help equip their boats with motors, batteries, solar-collection panels, rudders and steering systems.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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