Five Desert Vista High School students were awarded best in state and region at this year’s Verizon Innovative App Challenge for their mobile application concept that measured solar energy usage.

Best in state was awarded to Team Walrus for excellence in mobile app concept design, and best in region was awarded for outstanding accomplishment in mobile app concept design.

The team was also awarded a $5,000 grant that went to Desert Vista.

Team Walrus, which consisted of Matt Worth, Julia Kemmer, Derek Wallace, Spencer Williams and Nick Metzger, submitted its mobile app concept titled Solar Sum.

Solar Sum allows users to calculate the amount of solar energy their house accumulates from their home appliances such as their refrigerator, washer and dryer, etc.

“What our app does is it’s a simple way to manage batteries in conjunction with solar panels. It would calculate the input and output that the solar panels are bringing in, based on the appliances used in the home,” Worth said. “You can calculate how much energy is being used from the appliances in the house, and from the batteries that are connected from that solar panel.”

The mobile idea came from the engineering program at the school that has a curriculum based on solar panels.

“The app kind of started the past year by a couple other students in the engineering program … they kind of had the concept idea, but then they handed it off to us and we took our own direction on it,” Wallace said.

Team Walrus began working on Solar Sum this past October.

In order to compete in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, Team Walrus had to submit a formal essay on what its mobile app consisted of, and create an app-concept video explaining how the app worked.

“We went through a first round of judging where we won best in state of several different schools in the state. We then went on a second round of judging for best of region judging, and we made it for our state,” Wallace said. “There were eight schools from different regions from the West, South, Midwest and Northeast.”

At a national level, Team Walrus won a concept board pertaining to energy usage, Kemmer said.

Since winning region and state, the team decided to continue polishing Solar Sum to be offered to the mobile app market.

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