The nation’s largest solar-powered boat race with 40 high-school teams, including one from San Diego County, starts Friday at Lake Skinner near Temecula.
The three-day event is part of Metropolitan Water District’s Solar Cup. It begins Friday with qualification runs by the teams from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The San Diego team is from High Tech High North County.
Saturday will feature single-seat, 16-foot boats outfitted with solar-collection panels in endurance races around a 1-mile course.
Sunday is highlighted by 200-meter sprint races in which the solar panels are removed and the boats are powered by solar energy stored in batteries.
About 10,000 students have participated in Solar Cup since the inaugural event with just eight boats in 2002.
“The weekend of racing culminates the students’ school-year commitment to learning about alternative energy, water conservation, sustainability, engineering and teamwork,” said Solar Cup coordinator Julie Miller.
“Solar Cup serves as an educational benchmark for our future workforce while students gain hands-on lessons in science, technology, engineering and environmental sciences to round out their textbook curriculum.”
Races are easily visible from the lake shoreline and are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking.
The teams use identical hulls supplied by the water district, then work to maximize their boats’ endurance, speed and mechanical and electrical efficiencies.
The Metropolitan Water District is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies.
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