Solar Powered Boats Set Sail in Arizona

In two days filled with sun, water and state-of-the-art solar energy, St. Johns High School beat out 14 other high schools in the SRP Solar Spectacular 2003 regatta. Dozens of high school students descended on Tempe Town Lake to compete in boats they built and equipped with photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Tempe, Arizona – May 7, 2003 [] St. Johns High School, a school located on Arizona/New Mexico border, entered two boats in the competition and placed first and second in the overall competition (which included endurance and sprint races). Gilbert High School placed third, Phoenix’s Wilson Charter School placed fourth and Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School placed fifth overall. Dozens of high school students tested their engineering skills, honed after working since November researching, purchasing and installing PV equipment on the one-person boats with the help of US$3,000 grants from SRP. Some returning school entered two boats in the competition. The teams were given instruction on solar energy and boat building from technical advisers. The purpose of the event was to inspire innovation and environmental awareness while influencing future engineers and scientists. “Through Solar Spectacular, we are able to directly influence young minds and engage them in real-world applications of solar technologies,” said Richard Hayslip, manager of SRP’s Environmental, Land and Risk Management departments. “It is our hope that we influence students to consider science and engineering careers and to better understand what the future might hold for solar energy.” SRP Solar Spectacular is part of SRP’s Renewable Energy education program designed to give students in fourth through twelfth grades a comprehensive perspective of non-renewable and Renewable Energy sources. In 1999, SRP’s Board of Directors approved a four-year US$29-million Renewable Energy Portfolio, which provides funding for solar and other sources of Renewable Energy while educating the public about the benefits and need for alternative energy.
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