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2018
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Sierra College Solar Energy Program Team Wins the CUP at SMUD Solar Regatta

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Solar Energy Program Team Wins the CUP

The Sierra College Solar Energy Program Team spent last Saturday May 9 competing in the Northern California SMUD Solar Regatta at the Rancho Seco Recreational Area in Herald, CA, and came back to the Rocklin Campus the big winners of the event.

The team beat out 9 other college teams to win first place in the sprint race, slalom race, team presentation, and subsequently took the overall Regatta cup. Overall, Sierra College dominated the event. Great work team!

“Our students did an amazing job preparing for the competition this year,” mentions Steve Geiger, department chair of the Construction & Energy Technology program at Sierra College. “The students designed, built, and tested their winning boat in the school swimming pool. They worked out the solar powered electrical system to provide maximum trust to the motor using Ohm’s Law calculations. They then tested their theories under load in the water of the pool. It was an impressive team effort by our Intermediate Photovotaics (solar energy) class.” The boat is currently on display in the H Building (H-2), on the Rocklin Campus.

The Energy and Technology Center of SMUD opened this event to all middle, high school and college students from Fresno to the Oregon border to either retrofit or build from scratch, a solar powered boat and then participate in a fun-filled day of competitions in speed, distance, maneuverability and more. This academic competition provided a chance for students to learn about renewable energy using solar while celebrating the aquatic history of California. This is the second year the competition was open to college teams. The Sierra College Engineering Club team won the cup last year, so this is the second year that Sierra has dominated the event.

So, what do students learn by building a solar boat?

  • Physics and practical electricity: wiring, motors, force, motion and fluid dynamics
  • Renewable energy: researching applicability, resources and sustainability
  • Solar: load management, battery sizing
  • Engineering: design, materials, schematics and circuit design
  • Communication: presentation to judges and media

For more information, contact Steve Geiger, Sierra College Construction & Energy Dept., 916-660-7843 or sgeiger@sierracollege.edu

Photo: Solar Energy Program SMUD Regatta: Provided by SMUD who gives permission for its distribution

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