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Solar Cup


Solar Cup High School Education Program

Solar Cup logo.The Solar Cup high school education program is a solar-powered boat race competition where students design, build, equip and race solar-powered boats. It is a contest of design, speed and endurance that allows the participants to use an alternative power source in a real world application.

This FREE event is open to the public and is held in the month of May at The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) Lake Skinner reservoir in the Temecula.

For more information about the Solar Cup high school education program, visit MWD’s Solar Cup webpage.

Program Details

EMWD has partnered with The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California (MWD) to bring you the annual Solar Cup event. Solar Cup is a program where high school teams (grades 9-12 only), from all over Southern California, spend seven months building and preparing solar powered boats and then compete in sprint and endurance events.

EMWD will sponsor teams from school districts within its service area that have been selected through a lottery selection process.

MWD provides teams with a “hull” boat kit and EMWD allots funds to teams for purchasing items to get the boat ready for competition. The students utilize solar panels to power and maneuver their boats around Lake Skinner in Temecula, California. 

Through teamwork, the students work in a positive hands-on collaborative experience that is highly beneficial in fostering a stewardship of our natural resources. Past Solar Cup participants have received certificates of recognition from state and federal legislators for their participation in this competition. 

Due to the popularity and value of this event, and the possibility of multiple teams within a school district applying to compete, the application must be completed and submitted to EMWD by August 31 each year. No extensions will be granted.

Applicants will be notified in early September regarding the results of the lottery drawing.

Currently Metropolitan Water District has this event on hold due to COVID-19

Selection Process

The number of teams selected is dependent upon the number of teams MWD allows EMWD to sponsor. 

Teams are selected through a lottery process with consideration given to teams who have not participated in the past. Application needs to meet all requirements or the school will be disqualified and another school will be selected.

Team Formation

A team shall consist of no more than 20 students.

Team Support

Advisor, administration and team members will agree to sign a contract acknowledging requirements of participation, including the mandatory attendance and report requirements.

Location Information

Lake Skinner is a drinking water reservoir owned and operated by MWD. It can hold up to 44,000 acre-feet of water (one acre-foot = 360,000 gallons). Because it holds future drinking water, even though the water will still be treated, no swimming, wading or “body contact” is allowed. The lake’s fishing and camping activities are operated, by lease agreement, by the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District.