Solar panels are coming to two California canals. The “Project Nexus” follows research from the University of California-Merced finding substantial benefits for water quality and delivery, in addition to the benefits of renewable power generation. This first-of-its-kind pilot project will install solar arrays over two canals (one 25-feet wide and one 110-foot-wide) in the Turlock Irrigation District, allowing operators to monitor and evaluate the arrays’ impacts on water quality and evaporation and learn more about the potential maintenance and logistical issues involved with installing and operating solar panels over the canals.
Climate change primarily caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels increases the risk of drought in the western U.S. and is responsible for about half of the severity of the megadrought currently gripping the region. “In today’s world and how we are operating our system, saving every possible drop of water for future beneficial use is something that we are really trying to focus on. And so, any potential water savings is a water benefit to our ratepayers and to our growers,” Josh Weimer of the TID said. [Climate Nexus is not connected to the project.] (Modesto Bee, ABC-10, PV Magazine; Climate Signals background: Drought)