Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeSolarIn a First for US, California will Pilot Solar-Panel Canopies Over Canals...

In a First for US, California will Pilot Solar-Panel Canopies Over Canals 2023


In an initiative that looks at “water-energy nexus paradigm gaining attention among public utilities”, ”the California Department of Water Resources, utility company Turlock Irrigation District (TID), Marin County, California’s water and energy project developer Solar Aqua Grid, along with the University of California, Merced, have joined hands for Project Nexus.

Shedding light on what the project is all about, TID explains, “Project Nexus includes the installation of solar panel canopies over various sections of Turlock Irrigation District’s (TID) irrigation canals. Project Nexus will serve as a Proof of Concept to pilot and further study solar over canal design, deployment, and co-benefits on behalf of the State of California using TID infrastructure and electrical grid access. The project is anticipated to break ground in fall 2022 and be complete by the end of 2024.”

The $20 million project that has received funding from State of California will commence in mid-October at two locations that will include a 500-foot long canal in Hickman (east of Modesto) along with a mile-long canal span in Ceres city which is in close proximity.

The establishment of Project Nexus will be instrumental in finding out if solar panels can aid in reduction of water evaporation as the consequence of midday shade and wind mitigation; enhance the quality of water and reduce canal maintenance. Of course, it will also be an opportunity to check potential to generate renewable electricity, on the premise that if all of California (4,000 miles) were to be covered with solar panels, it could have the ability to supply renewable power worth 12 GW. This power, in turn, would promise to electrify as many as 9.75 million households.


Project Nexus, to be established in San Joaquin Valley, California, will be the first of its kind in the US. In India, however, solar panels over canals is a common idea and it has proven to be a solution that saves land and water at the same time, while also curbing carbon emissions. In fact, the first such pilot project dates back to 2014 in the Vadodara district of Gujarat.

Tags: AquaGrid, California, canal maintenance, Canopies over canals, Carbon Emissions, grid access, Gujarat, Pilot Project, Project Nexus, Solar Panels, solar panels over canals, Turlock Irrigation District

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