Solar Splash Comes to Dayton for Second Time

by Ryan Bower, Assistant Director of Public Relations

With the birthplace of aviation serving as the location, the 21st annual World Solar Splash Championships will return to Dayton from June 10-14 at Eastwood Park. Cedarville University will host the event for the second-straight year as teams from universities all over the world compete.

Tim Dewhurst, Ph.D., senior professor of mechanical engineering and faculty adviser for Cedarville’s solar boat team, was instrumental in bringing the competition to Dayton last year and expects this year’s event to be just as successful as it was in 2014.

“We got the event off without a hitch last year,” said Dewhurst. “I think all the teams were very pleased with the venue. It’s a beautiful location and everyone can see the competition from where they are. In past venues, spectators had to move back and forth to watch the races, but the Eastwood Park location is perfect.”

In addition to Cedarville, other participating teams include: the University of Dayton, Stony Brook University, Northeastern University, The College of New Jersey, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Rochester, the University of South Carolina, Cal-Poly Pomona, the University of Southern Indiana, Geneva College, Ohio Northern University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Cedarville is the most decorated participant in Solar Splash history, having won the event seven times in the last 11 years.
“We have high standards for our students,” said Dewhurst. “But we also give them the mentoring they need to be successful. As faculty, we try to be as accessible as possible and give hands-on learning experiences. That’s what’s so great about Solar Splash, students have to design, test and then fix the problems they find with their board – it’s not just a design on paper.”

Last year, Stony Brook took home the overall title while Cedarville won awards for Best Visual Display, Outstanding System Design, Outstanding Electrical System Design and Outstanding Technical Report.

“Our success at Solar Splash shows that we stack up very well against other programs at other schools,” said Dewhurst. “Solar Splash is a great thing to talk about with prospective students and their parents when they come for visits.”

Solar Splash is an event that tests the engineering design and production skills of each team through a technical inspection and a series of on-the-water competitions. Each team is required to produce a piloted boat up to 6 meters in length powered by 480 Watts of solar power with one kW-hr of stored energy in batteries.

Teams earn points based on their performance in a qualifier, high-speed sprint race, long endurance races and slalom event. The event judges also review technical reports submitted by each team, which factor in to the final score.

2015 Solar Splash Schedule

Wednesday, June 10

8:00 - 5:00 – Team Registrations
9:00 – 5:00 – Electrical/Mechanical Inspections
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch Break
1:00 – 5:00 – On-Water Technical Inspections
2:00 – 3:00 – Skipper Weigh-In
3:00 – 4:00 – Swim Test for Skippers
6:00 – Reception/Banquet Program (on-site)
Thursday, June 11
8:00 – Morning Skippers’ Meeting
8:30 – 12:00 – Electrical/Mechanical Inspections
9:00 – 5:00 – Qualifying and Solar Slalom Events
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch Break

Friday, June 12 
8:00 – Morning Skippers’ Meeting
8:30 – 10:00 – Qualifying and Solar Slalom Events
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch Break
2:00 – 4:00 – First Sprint Heats Event

Saturday, June 13
8:00 – Morning Skippers’ Meeting
10:00 – 12:00 – First Endurance Heats Event
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch Break
2:00 – 4:00 – Second Endurance Heats Event

Sunday, June 14
8:00 – Morning Skippers’ Meeting
9:30 – 10:50 – Second Sprint Heats Event
11:00 – 12:00 – Lunch Break
12:15 – 1:00 – Third Sprint Heats Event
1:15 – Sprint Championship Event

*Changes to the schedule may occur, due to weather or other circumstances
**Activities shown in bold are major items of interest to spectators

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,620 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.