Solar skills, strategies and smarts powered area high school students to the top of the podium at Wisconsin Public Service’s (WPS) 27th annual Solar Olympics competition. Students from more than a dozen high schools from across northeast and north central Wisconsin took part in the event May 17 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Students put their science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) skills to the test in 13 separate solar-themed events — creating devices or items such as renewable race cars, clean energy cookers and sun-splashed artwork.

In true Olympic tradition, the top three finishers in each event received gold, silver and bronze medals at an awards ceremony at the end of the competition.

A group of adult male judges speaks with a male student about a solar cooker placed on a grass lawn.

Event winners
  • Solar Advertising Campaign: Marathon High School
  • Solar Art Challenge: Marinette High School, Marathon High School, Ashwaubenon High School (combined entry)
  • Solar Building Design: Northland Lutheran High School
  • Solar Car Design: Marinette High School
  • Solar Car Race: Marathon High School
  • Solar Cooker: Valders High School
  • Solar Essay: Marathon High School
  • Solar Jeopardy (individual winner): Cal Heiden, Wausau West High School
  • Solar Jeopardy (team winner): Valders High School
  • Solar Photography: Valders High School
  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Innovation: Three Lakes High School
  • Solar Sculpture: Marathon High School
  • Solar T-shirt Design: Tomahawk High School
  • Solar Water Heater: Valders High School

In the team competition, Valders High School took top honors, while Marathon High School and Marinette High School finished second and third, respectively.

Solar Olympics supports student learning

Now in its 27th year, Solar Olympics gives high school students a fun, hands-on opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of an important source of clean energy. This unique educational event has grown from three schools in 1997 to include schools across northeast and north central Wisconsin.

WPS offers Solar Olympics to schools that participate in its SolarWise for Schools program. The program’s lessons and interactive projects help students learn about solar power and renewable energy. WPS also has helped 56 high schools install solar energy systems through the SolarWise for Schools program.

Advancing clean energy in Wisconsin

WPS offers Solar Olympics and its SolarWise for Schools program as part of its commitment to a bright, sustainable future for the customers and communities it serves. The company provides solar energy throughout the year from Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar parks and the first large-scale solar facility in the state’s Northwoods region. It also has announced plans to acquire portions of additional solar parks in Wisconsin in the coming years.

Participating schools
  • Ashwaubenon High School
  • Chilton High School
  • Lakeland Union High School
  • Marathon High School
  • Marinette High School
  • Mishicot High School
  • Northland Lutheran High School
  • Pembine High School
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Academy (Marinette)
  • Three Lakes High School
  • Tomahawk High School
  • Valders High School
  • Wausau West High School
  • West De Pere High School