CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa will host the 2011 Solar Splash World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boat Racing for the first time, June 8 through June 12, at George Wyth State Park. This year's event will be one of the largest, with 21 teams from four countries and more than 250 spectators.

According to Reg Pecen, UNI professor of industrial technology, Solar Splash began in Milwaukee in 1994 and is a hands-on educational experience that develops teamwork and interdisciplinary skills. "This competition allows undergraduates to be involved in applied engineering and technology research and to develop confidence in their abilities."

Pecen says UNI's team is honored to be hosting an international event of this magnitude. "Solar Splash is dedicated to spotlighting sustainable and clean boating technologies, and this is something Iowa's lakes and rivers could clearly benefit from."

During the five-day event, Solar Splash teams earn points in seven categories, including technical inspections and reports, engineering design, visual displays, workmanship, and on-the-water sprint, endurance and slalom competitions. 

At the 2009 Solar Splash, UNI's team, the Solar Panthers, placed third overall, the team's best showing to date.  Their success involved year-long design, implementation, construction, testing and troubleshooting, Pecen said. 

This year's event is sponsored by IEEE-PELS including partial sponsors from IMSEP, Waterloo Tent, CFU, Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau, Cedar Valley Sports Commission, Iowa DNR, Solar Creations by Waterloo, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber. The UNI Solar Electric Boat project is sponsored by the Iowa Energy Center, with additional support provided by the UNI Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the UNI CHFANS SOAR grants.

For more information, visit or contact Pecen at 319-230-9331.