Solar Cup Boat Building and Racing Competition

Solar Cup is the world’s largest high school solar boat building and racing competition in the world! This innovative seven-month water education and environmentally sustainable technology program is funded by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its member agencies including West Basin Municipal Water District.  The culminating solar boat racing event was held on May 18-20, 2018, at Lake Skinner in Temecula!

Solar Cup 2018 Boat Building and Racing Competition Coverage


This year, West Basin is proud to sponsor the following two South Bay high schools and one educational non-profit organization with funding to purchase and install electrical and mechanical equipment for their boats:


Solar Cup Sprint Races & Award Ceremony - Lake Skinner

May 20, 2018 - Temecula

Today, teams removed the solar panels from their boats and, relying solely on solar power stored in their batteries, dashed down the sprint raceway to get the quickest time!  Riverside Poly High School was the fastest boat with a 5 second sprint.  Waterfront Education came in fifth place with a 6.12 second sprint, followed by Peninsula High School and Mira Costa High School placing 19th and 21st respectively.  All teams were awarded achievement medals, with the following West Basin teams receiving special recognition:

Waterfront Education - 1st Place Rookie Award, 200-Meter Sprint

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School - 1st Place Technical Report, Veteran Central & Bay Region, 2nd Place Endurance Race, Veteran Central & Bay Region

With 1,000 total competition points possible, Riverside Poly High School garnered  the 1st place Solar Cup trophy with 971 points. Mira Costa High School place 16th, Peninsula High School placed 17th and Waterfront Education placed 27th. Congratulations to all teams for their seven-month effort in learning more about our precious water supply, alternative energy resources and exploring the fields of natural resources and engineering!


Solar Cup Endurance Race Day - Lake Skinner

May 19, 2018 - Temecula

36 of the 38 teams qualified yesterday to launch their boats into the reservoir today and used their solar panels combined with their solar charged batteries to circle an endurance race course. The racing challenge? complete as many laps as possible within two 90-minute race periods; one race heat taking place in the morning, a second race heat in the afternoon. 

Peninsula High School and Mira Costa High School had consistently high performing boats, while the Waterfront Education team was faced with a burned out boat motor during the morning heat.  Thanks to the generosity of Del Lago Academy (who were shorebound due to their boat not qualifying for this weekend's racing events) who shared their motor and drive train to make it possible for Waterfront Education to return to the race in the afternoon! act of compassion and true sportsmanship demonstrated by Team Del Lago!

The endurance race winner was Oxford Academy completeing 43 total laps.  Peninsula High School completed 39.5 laps.  Mira Costa High School completed 35.75 laps including a 1 lap deduction for accidently hitting another boat.  And Waterfront Education finished 21.5 laps.  Congratulations to to all three West Basin Solar Cup teams for giving it your all!


Solar Cup Qualifying Day - Lake Skinner

May 18, 2018 - Temecula

All 38 teams hauled their Solar Cup boats to the reservoir dock today and were required to pass the safety and technical inspections, then demonstrate their vessel could manuver around the endurance race course bouy and speed down the straight sprint raceway in order to participate in this weekend's racing events.  Peninsula High School and Mira Costa High School completed all tests smoothly, but the Waterfront Education team struggled with a blown fuse attempting to pass the endurance race test twice.  But with sheer persistance and teamwork, they perservered and qualified for both racing events too!  Congratulations to all three teams!


Solar Cup Technical Workshop #2 - Occidental College

February 3, 2018 - Los Angeles

Solar Cup team representatives visit the college campus, interact with college engineering students serving as technical resource experts for the program, and are immersed in the technology of motors, batteries, and electric circuits.  They also learn about the current water supply issues facing the Southern California region, that water conservation needs to become a long-term way of life, and how to create effective messages for their public outreach project, a water conservation Snapchat story.


Solar Cup Technical Workshop #1 - Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Headquarters

December 2, 2017 - Los Angeles

Solar Cup team representatives met with Metropolitan Water District staff members and technical advisors to be introduced to basic electricity, battery, and motor concepts, elements and writing structure for a strong technical report submission, and the SnapChat Story format for the "Conservation: It's not about the weather; It's about forever" public service announcement.


Boat Building Workshop, Three Valleys Municipal Water District

November 4 & 5, 2017 – Claremont

Solar Cup student teams converged under a huge tent to assemble pre-cut wooden pieces into 16-foot hollow canoe hulls. Students sawed, screwed, nailed, and glued into the afternoon, became familiar with terms such as “bow,” “stern,” “chines,” and “bulkhead,” then hauled their masterpieces back to school. Over the next 7 months, teams will install motors, propellers, drive shafts, and solar panels to operate their boats. Click on the links below to view full photo albums of the event.