Solar Boats Raced On Lake By High Schoolers

In case you happened to miss the nation’s largest solar boat competition over this past weekend, let it be known that forty Southern California high school students took to the water for fame, glory and green tech cred in the ninth annual Metropolitan Water District’s Solar Cup.

The event kicked off on Friday on Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner (just north of Temecula) with a series of qualifying events designed to ensure all boats were safe and seaworthy. Over the weekend, teams from high schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties raced their single-seat, solar-powered, 16-foot boats powered solar panels in endurance races around a 1.6-kilometer (.99-mile) course.

Solar Cup 2010

image via Western Municipal Water District

On Sunday, the same teams went head to head in 200-meter sprint races. These races up the speed quotient by virtue of the fact that, in this round, the solar panels are left on shore and the boats are powered entirely by energy stored in their batteries.

Solar Cup Team 2011

image via Western Municipal Water District

Trophies were awarded in veteran and rookie divisions for teams with the highest points, as well as to teams with the “Hottest-Looking Boat,” the best teamwork and sportsmanship. More information on the 2011 competition is available online.

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.