California to Install Solar Panels Over Canals to Fight Drought, A First in the U.S.

In an effort to combat the devastating drought conditions hitting California, the Golden State will become the first in the nation to install solar panel canopies over canals.

The $20 million pilot project funded by the state has been dubbed “Project Nexus.” It will consist of an estimated 8,500 feet of solar panels installed over three sections of Turlock Irrigation District (TID) canals in Central California. It is expected to break ground in the fall, and be completed by 2023. The project was first announced back in February.

Saving Water and Generating Power in California: Can One Project Achieve Both?

California needs more water and renewable energy, and Solar AquaGrid CEO Jordan Harris is trying to help.

“We need some bold solutions and big solutions,” he said.

A big idea is starting with a small stretch of canals in the Turlock Irrigation District, located just south of Modesto.

California’s Vital Canals are Crumbling. A Plan to Fix Them Just Died in the Legislature

The major arteries of California’s water-delivery system are crumbling, but a proposal in the state Legislature to spend $785 million fixing them is dead for the year.

The legislation, SB 559 was pulled off the table this week by its chief author, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), after an Assembly committee stripped the funding and made other changes to the legislation. Hurtado’s decision turns SB 559 into a two-year bill that could be revived next year.