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Solar panels shade canal and save water
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An experimental project in India is combining solar photovoltaic panels with an irrigation system in an attempt to save water while generating electricity. A 1 MW array has been built over nearly half a mile of the Narmada Canal in the state of Gujarat.
Solar panels shade canal and save water

The combination will not only produce electricity but also conserve land and water, according to officials of the state government . The project is meant to show an efficient use of land in an agricultural region by putting solar panels over a waterway rather than over fertile ground. It also should reduce evaporation of the canal water by an estimated 237,750 gallons of water each year.

The Gujarat State Electricity Corporation developed the project and hired U.S.based SunEdison to build it.

This is not the first time someone has thought of putting solar panels over water to save space and preserve scarce water supplies. It is still relatively uncommon, however. A New York Times story last year outlined several projects including two at California vineyards that have installed solar panels over ponds. The story also talked about the idea of covering the California Aqueduct with solar panels, but an official from the state agency overseeing the aqueduct expressed concerns over the stability of solar panels and the ability of repair workers to fix leaks and other problems at the 400-mile canal if they have to contend with massive structures of solar panels and their mounting systems.

Gujarat has seen many solar arrays installed in recent years. The state encourages solar panels by guaranteeing premium prices for the solar electricity, boasts at least 600 MW of solar and 2,580 MW of wind energy generation, which makes it one of the largest renewable energy producing states in the country.

The 1 MW project only covers a small section of the canal, the main waterway of which runs for nearly 285 miles. If all the side channels are included, then the overall length is about 11,806 miles. So there is potentially still plenty of space to put more solar panels over them.

Rating:  5 (1)  Add feedback ...

 Positive review of this story
  James CTD Mohan 
28 Jan 2013, 6:48 AM 
Good idea
It is really interesting & saves evaporating water, fertile land and related benefits, concerns over the stability of solar panels and the ability of repair workers to fix leaks at California as to be taken into consideration.

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