Solar Splash: The world's original solar boat race

University teams: electric motors, solar panels, lead acid batteries


The Solar Splash is the world’s first solar boat regatta, launched in 1994 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The teams come from U.S. and international universities and include faculty advisors and students from engineering and other faculties.

The 2018 edition of the Solar Splash was held in Springfield, Ohio, and the top 3 teams were from Cedarville University (near Springfield), the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

2018 Champion: Cedarville University

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Carnegie Mellon University

The boats have a maximum length of 6 metres (19 ft, 8 inches), have electric motors and and are powered by direct and stored solar energy. As in all of the solar boat classes, no source other than the sun can be used to charge the battery.

The batteries themselves must be commercially available, lead-acid, and abolutely ‘stock’, or unmodified. The boat configuration may be modified by replacing or exchanging other individual components such as motors, propellers, drive train components and rudders.

The solar panels are detachable in the Solar Splash class. The panels must be in place for the endurance race of the official competition, but most competitors elect to remove them – for weight and wind drag reasons – for the speed and slalom events, running on the stored battery power.

All teams have their solar collection devices checked to verify that the output does not exceed 480 Watts under normal one sun conditions.

Commercially-built solar panels are verified for compliance by using the manufacturer’s specifications. Student-built solar panels can be used, and are then verified for compliance.

A power allowance of 10% is given to student-built panels, i.e. the total power of the individual cells can add up to 528 Watts.


We are in discussion with teams competing in the 2019 Solar Splash competition to have them bring their craft to the Toronto Solar Boat Races.

Confirmed entries for the 2019 Springfield event are:

  • University of Rochester Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Cornell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth

Other interested teams include

  • Columbia University Middle
  • Tennessee State University
  • College of New Jersey
  • Cal-Poly Pomona
  • SRM Institute of Science and Technology, India

For complete information about the history of the event as well as full rules and regulations, visit the

»» Solar Splash website