The final round of the 17th annual Solar Cup Competition, during which students from more than 40 Southern California high schools rely on the sun’s rays to power boats, will be held Sunday at Lake Skinner in Winchester.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California event got underway Friday, featuring teams from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Over 750 students are involved in this year’s contest.

Contestants’ 16-foot plywood skiffs, outfitted with solar-collection panels that supply the electricity needed to power them, will hit the water in 200-meter sprint races Sunday morning, according to the MWD.

Saturday’s competition saw the students powering through 1-mile endurance races.

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 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. The maximum weight for each, with the lone skipper aboard, is 450 pounds.

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

Awards will be bestowed on standouts in the “veteran” and “rookie” divisions, as well as for teamwork, sportsmanship and the “hottest-looking boat,” according to the MWD.

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

More information is available at

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