The United States is committed to covering the canals with solar panels to produce electricity and provide water

In areas like California, swamp evaporation and water transport is a serious problem that has prompted the government to take measures to avoid shortages. This has been exacerbated in recent years due to climate change, which prompted the central administration to develop a project for Covering water channels with solar panels With the aim of reducing evaporation and, in the process, increasing electricity production.

Under the umbrella of the IRA, the administration will allocate various amounts to start covering various water infrastructures with photovoltaic panels across the country.

For example, it will be customized $15 million to cover part of the Delta Mendota Canal. A canal running through the San Joaquin Valley, California. Another $25 million will be invested to design, study and implement projects to cover water transportation facilities in places such as California, Oregon and Utah.

According to US administration officials Installing solar panels in irrigation canals It has the potential to provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reduce losses due to channel evaporation.
  • Increase the efficiency and production of solar energy.
  • Reduce channel maintenance by slowing the growth of aquatic plants.
  • Reducing the energy footprint and carbon emissions required to operate and maintain the facility.

But that’s all, the thoughtful solution also has a triple advantage. Besides saving water and producing 100% renewable energy, another advantage is added. Covering the canals allows the release of land in other places, which would not need to be covered by a photovoltaic park.

According to government representatives: “This announcement is an important milestone in our efforts to combat climate change and the country’s transition to clean, green energy. Installing solar panels on our canal systems is a smart solution to our growing water and energy dilemmas: it takes advantage of clean energy technology to increase efficiency while reducing our carbon footprint and water loss through evaporation.“.

Announced projects include the following:

  • San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority, Mendota Delta (California) Floating Solar Project. The impact of floating solar PV panels on the Mendota Delta Canal will be evaluated. The pilot intends to deploy up to three floating solar technologies to evaluate the feasibility, costs and benefits of floating solar technologies on canals at large transmission facilities such as the Delta Mendota Canal. The initiative will also validate the design of floating PV for water transportation, identify and address issues related to maintaining a paneled channel, explore power generation potential, and develop methods for measuring water quality impacts.
  • North Unit Irrigation Unit, Main Canal Floating PV Project (Oregon). The district will build floating solar photovoltaic panels on the main channel of the Deschutes Project located near Bend, Oregon. The project will evaluate the impact of floating solar panels on water efficiency and the amount of clean energy produced.
  • Weber Basin Water Conservation District, Layton Canal Solar Panel Project (Utah). The area will cover existing canals with solar panel structures extending above the Layton Canal near West Haven, Utah. The project will be a five-year demonstration of data collection and monitoring to assess the technical capabilities, economic feasibility and feasibility of large-scale implementation for both the reclamation area and the region. The project hopes to improve water quality by reducing algae blooms along the canal, produce renewable energy to offset pump station use or sell it to utilities, and significantly reduce water loss through evaporation.

Covering the canals with solar panels

The development of cross-channel solar energy is an emerging response to the energy-water-food nexus, which can lead to multiple benefits for water and energy infrastructure.

Analyzes on examples of solar PV installations on canals showed better PV performance, due to the cool microclimate next to the canal.

Various studies, such as one presented in 2021 by the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Wheeler Water Institute, have estimated the impact of water. The 6,350-kilometre canal network covers all of California. The largest transmission system in the world and covers a wide range of climates, sunlight rates and water costs.

After research, it was found that solar energy on the canal can be used Reducing annual evaporation by 39 ± 12 thousand m3 per kilometer of canal. Furthermore, the financial benefits of duct coverage outweigh the additional costs of cable support structures needed to cross ducts.

The NPV of canal solar exceeds conventional ground-based solar by 20-50%, challenging the tradition that traditionally leaves canals exposed.

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