HELCO Solar Regatta held at Hilo Intermediate School

Solar Regatta participants with HELCO President Jay Ignacio. Photo courtesy of HELCO



A student prepares to launch his solar boat in the regatta. Photo courtesy of HELCO

A student prepares to launch his solar boat in the regatta. Photo courtesy of HELCO

Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) held its fourth annual Solar Regatta on May 14, 2011 at Hilo Intermediate School. This year, more than 200 fifth graders from eight schools participated in the event.

The Solar Regatta is sponsored by HELCO in partnership with the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) and is held in conjunction with the Sun Power for Schools program to encourage renewable energy development and education for Hawaii’s students. The Solar Regatta is a culminating activity of a hands-on educational project in which HELCO provides participating teachers with training and curriculum to teach their students about electricity and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal. Working in teams, students build a model solar boat from a project kit consisting of a motor and small solar panel. Students also learned about the environment and were encouraged to incorporate recycled materials in their boat construction.

“We are proud to support the science curriculum in our island schools,” said HELCO President Jay Ignacio. “The Solar Boat Program offers students a fun, hands-on activity that teaches them about renewable energy as well as environmental stewardship.”

The Solar Boat Program was designed to support the DOE’s General Learner Outcomes by promoting self directed learning, complex thinking, team work, effective communication, quality production, and quality performance. At the regatta, students showcased their accomplishments by sailing their model solar boats against timed standards. To meet the standard, the boat must travel two meters in less than 15 seconds. To exceed the standard, the boat must travel the same distance in less than 30 seconds carrying a three-ounce lead weight.

The event was staffed by volunteers from HELCO, DOE, and the Hilo High School Key Club and organized by HELCO’s Educational Services Coordinator. Mahalo to all teachers who attended the workshop and brought their students to the event.

Congratulations to all participants and the winning teams:

Participating schools: Haaheo, Haili Christian, Kahakai, Kamehameha, Keaau, Nawahiokalaniopuu, Waiakea, and Waiakea Waena

Bracket 1: Meets the standards

  1. Keaau Elementary School
  2. Waiakeawaena Elementary School
  3. Kahakai Elementary

Bracket 2: Exceeds the standards

  1. Waiakea Elementary School
  2. Keaau Elementary School
  3. Keaau Elementary School

Best Use of Recycled Materials
Kamehameha Elementary

Most Creative
Ha`aheo Elementary

Best Engineering
Keaau Elementary

Best Report
Kamehameha Elementary

Community Contributor Team Award
Waiakeawaena Elementary

For more information on the Solar Boat Program, contact HELCO’s Educational Services Coordinator Kenyan Beals at 969-0137.

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