Converting the Sun

SCU sets sail in the solar regatta.

The tape was problematic. In order to keep SCU’s entrant in SMUD’s California Solar Regatta powered, the electrical wiring connecting the watercraft’s solar panel and motor needed a wiggle now and then. “That’s not really user-friendly,” Taylor Mau ’18 says. “We didn’t want to do that.” With just 48 hours to race time, Mau found a connector to replace the tape 48 hours before the race. The team had already designed a rotating frame for solar panels to most effectively capture the sun—and controlled with a chain, gear, and cog. The California Solar Regatta endurance race required the boat to traverse a reservoir. Team member James Wang ’19 says the solar-powered catamaran could make it to Hawaii. With the wiring and other design issues nailed down, SCU placed fourth in the race.

READ MORE: Matt Morgan’s feature story

post-image Taylor Mau ’18 adjusts the wiring in the SCU solar-powered catamaran. / Photo by Tony Avelar
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