INLAND EMPIRE, CA – Every year, local high school teams co-sponsored by Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) have competed in Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) Solar Cup™ competition. This year, Chino Hills High School’s Solar Cup Team (also co-sponsored by the city of Chino Hills) was extraordinarily dedicated and committed to participate in and was declared the winner in MWD’s updated version called Solar Cup 2.0.

This year’s Solar Cup™ competition had to transition to a virtual platform due to schools moving to distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the shift in learning environments and safety protocols, MWD created Solar Cup™ 2.0, consisting of 12 virtual challenges that were designed to be completed as teams or individually. Teams were given the option whether they wanted to continue participating in the competition using the adapted virtual model.

“Over the years, the Chino Hills High School Solar Cup™ team has shown dedication, adaptability, ingenuity, and determination while competing. Given the changing environment, the team did not back down, and committed to the program with as much passion and drive as in years prior,” stated IEUA Board Secretary/Treasurer Steve Elie, who represents the city of Chino Hills. “When it looked like their dreams of competing were ‘sunk,’ they came together to prove again that challenges can be overcome.”

Typically, Solar Cup™ is a seven-month educational program that provides high school students with the opportunity to build, design and race solar-powered boats. The Solar Cup™ competition includes writing technical reports, creating social media campaigns and developing and implementing a strategy to build a boat powered by solar panels, traditionally concluding with a boat racing competition at Lake Skinner.

Solar Cup™ 2.0 challenges focused on virtual design and development, report writing, webinars, video scripting and development, and more. One challenge included the design of the solar powered boats. Unable to finish painting creative designs on their existing boats, participants designed boats virtually, using computer software. Teams also produced videos with uplifting messages for the public service message portion of the challenge.

Completing all of the challenges, and utilizing creativity and commitment, the Chino Hills High School team finished first with an overall score of 1332 out of 1300 by completing extra credit questions on some challenges. The team’s boat design was captioned: My design portrays the Greek myth of Sisyphus because it is similar to our situation. Not having a boat to sail initially damaged our morale, but that didn’t stop us from getting back up and reaching the finish line.

“We congratulate the Chino Hills High School team on this great victory,” continued Elie.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency covers 242-square miles, distributes imported water, provides industrial/municipal wastewater collection and treatment services, and other related utility services to more than 875,000 people through its member agencies which include Chino, Chino Hills, Cucamonga Valley Water District, Fontana, Fontana Water Company, Montclair, Monte Vista Water District, Ontario, and Upland.

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