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LBHS students to Compete in 13th Annual Solar Cup

Post Date:01/20/2015 11:00 AM
Since the beginning of November, students from Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) have been constructing a solar-powered boat to compete in Metropolitan Water District’s 13th Annual Solar CupTM, the nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition. The LBHS team, sponsored by the Laguna Beach County Water District (District), is made up of 15 students from the LBHS Solar Club.  This will be the fourth year the school has competed in the competition to be held May 15-17 at Metropolitan’s Lake Skinner in the Temecula Valley.
Beginning in September, Solar Cup is a seven-month educational program in which high school students throughout Southern California build and race solar-powered boats while learning about local water supply sources, conservation, resource management, electrical and mechanical engineering, problem solving, and communication.  In addition to boat-building, teams are required to submit three technical reports on electrical, solar power collection, and steering systems; create a water conservation public service message; and, present a water conservation activity at the event.
As a returning team in the veteran division, LBHS students are required to build a new boat each year, but may use equipment from previous boats, such as solar panels, batteries, and motors.  Over the past few months, working alongside District staff, they have assembled the 16-foot-long hull, and will begin to furnish the boat with propellers, rudders, solar panels, batteries, electrical systems, and drive trains.
“We are excited to be sponsoring students from Laguna Beach High School to compete in this year’s Solar Cup competition,” says Renae Hinchey, Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager. “This program is unique in that it provides hands-on learning experience to the students while incorporating fundamental learning objectives such as math, science, and engineering, as well as fostering creativity and teamwork. We are continually impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to the program each year.”
The Solar Cup competition will begin Friday, May 15, with two qualifying events and a technical inspection to determine the safety, seaworthiness, handling, and qualifying time of each boat. The endurance races will take place Saturday, May 16, featuring the solar-powered boats equipped with solar energy collection panels competing in two, 90-minute heats around a 1.6-kilometer course.
On Sunday, May 17, the solar panels will be removed, and teams will compete in 200-meter sprint races where the boats are powered by solar-charged batteries. Following the races, an awards ceremony will be held for the winning teams with the highest number of points earned in both the veteran and rookie divisions.
The event will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking. Lake Skinner is located at 37701 Warren Road in Riverside County—exit off of Interstate 15 to Rancho California Road, Temecula.
Since the event was first introduced in 2002, approximately 9,000 students have participated in the annual Solar Cup. The LBHS team will be competing with 40 other high school teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties.
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