The first solar canals are about to be tested in the sunny state of California

Solar canal mockup

by Megan Richardson

March 06, 2022 C.E.

With the western United States in one of its worst droughts in centuries, conserving water is important for the welfare of millions of people, as well as the surrounding environment. Because of this, the state has begun placing solar panels on top of its canals, an ingenious way to conserve precious water, while also helping achieve its renewable energy targets.

California has about 4000 miles of canals that transport water to 5.7 million acres of farmland meanwhile almost 65 billion gallons of water that passes through these canals evaporates. Covering the canals with solar panels decreases the amount of water lost, while producing renewable energy

There are many additional benefits that come out of this technological advance. It improves air quality by curbing aquatic weeds that would also normally choke the canals. It also prevents more than 80000 acres of farmland or natural habitat from being converted into solar farms. 

This new innovation is a win-win-win. It helps fight climate change, bolsters food security, and conserves water, cheaper renewable energy and more.


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Clean & renewable energy, Climate crisis, Fresh water conservation, and Technology & innovation
Region: North & Central America
Country: United States
Actor Type: Science & academia and States & provinces
Institution: University of California

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