California’s Project Nexus has been under discussion since 2021 and is now set to debut at least as a pilot project this October, designed to demonstrate the benefits of installing solar panels over canals Prevention of water loss through evaporation during energy production.
Proponents of the projects say covering California’s canals with solar panels would prevent 65 billion gallons of water from evaporating while it’s being transported from Northern California (where it rains) to Southern California, where the water is consumed.
At the same time, solar panels would also generate a lot of energy (13 GW), so it seems like a win-win situation. This energy could be used to obtain fresh water through desalination, although this is not an official claim.
As a proof of concept, modest solar panels will be installed at two locations, one mile in Ceres City and 500 feet in Hickman.
The goal of Project Nexus is to see if the idea can prevent evaporation to the extent that it is intended. Officials even expect the installation to control plant growth around the water, which could have a positive impact on water quality.
If it works as planned, the comprehensive project would be given the green light. It’s exciting, but we should expect some hiccups along the way, perhaps with maintenance or power transport issues. However, if this project is net positive, it would be a massive win for renewable energy and land use.
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