Students from more than 40 Southern California high schools will be low-speed racing around Lake Skinner near Winchester next week, in a contest requiring competitors to power their boats using nothing but energy from the sun.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 17th annual Solar Cup Competition will feature teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. More than 600 students will be involved in this year’s event.

Qualifying rounds will be held May 18, when contestants’ 16-foot plywood skiffs will be inspected and tested to ensure they meet technical standards. Each rig is outfitted with solar-collection panels that supply the electricity needed to power it, according to the MWD.

Students from the following Riverside County schools and districts are entered in the competition:

— Centennial High School, Corona;

— Elsinore High School, Wildomar;

— Hemet Unified School District;

— Lakeside High School, Wildomar;

— Norte Vista High School, Riverside;

— Perris Union School District;

— Roosevelt High School STEM Academy, Corona;

— San Jacinto Valley Academy;

— Temecula Valley Unified School District; and

— Temescal Canyon High School, Wildomar.

Students have spent the last seven months readying their hand-built crafts, which are constructed from kits consisting of batteries, drive trains, electrical systems, propellers, rudders and the solar panels.

On May 18, the single-person skiffs will hit the water, motoring through 1-mile endurance heats. The following day, 200-meter sprint races are planned.

Access to the lakeshore is free.

An awards ceremony is scheduled after the last race on May 19, with trophies going to teams that rack up the highest points for performance in a variety of categories.

Since 2002, more than 10,000 students have taken part in the solar boat races.

More information is available at www.mwdh2o.com/inthecommunity/education-programs/Pages/Solar-Cup.aspx .

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