From pv magazine USA
You’ve heard of “floatovoltaics”, but Project Nexus takes a different approach by installing solar panels over canals. The concept grew out of a 2021 study conducted at the University of California, Merced and UC Santa Cruz, which found many advantages to mounting solar panels over open water canals.
The study showed that covering the approximately 4,000 miles of public water delivery system infrastructure in California with solar panels can generate 13GW of energy annually, equal to about one sixth of the state’s current installed capacity and about half the projected new capacity needed to meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
“Solar canals are an example of an energy-water nexus that offer multiple sustainability benefits. Using water canals for solar infrastructure conserves water while producing renewable electricity and avoids converting large tracts of land to solar development,” said Dr. Brandi L. McKuin, lead author of the study.
The Turlock Irrigation District (TID) is partnering with the Department of Water Resource (DWR), Solar AquaGrid, and the University of California, Merced in the $20 million project funded by the State of California. Groundbreaking on Project Nexus is scheduled for this fall, with the project expected to be complete in 2024 at multiple locations throughout the TID service territory. The project will include energy storage to study how storage facilities can support the local electric grid when solar generation is suboptimal due to cloud cover.
Solar AquaGrid LLC founders recognized the untapped opportunity to put a lid on evaporation by shading California canals, as is done in Europe, where canals are lined with tree cover, and in India, where canals are being covered with solar panels, and began their investigation, forming a unique public/private/academic collaboration to advance California’s Solar Over Canal initiative. The company commissioned the study at the University of Merced through the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Water.
“Research and common sense tell us that in an age of intensifying drought, it’s time to put a lid on evaporation,” said Jordan Harris, CEO of Solar AquaGrid. “Our initial study revealed mounting solar panels over open canals can result in significant water, energy, and cost savings when compared to ground-mounted solar systems, including added efficiency resulting from an exponential shading/cooling effect. Now is the chance to put that learning to the test.”
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
13GW is not an annual measurement of energy. GWh would be energy over a time period.
“project nexus” reminds me of a certain game of madness and combat
Fantastic news on solar energy generation and environmental care for future generations.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.