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 Water District Plans Country’s 1st Solar Canopy Project Covering Canals

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) in Turlock, California, is planning the country’s first pilot project to build solar panel canopies over a portion of the water utility’s existing canals. Project Nexus is planned as a multi-use solar project, assessing water evaporation reduction from mid-day shade and wind mitigation; improvements to water quality and reduced canal maintenance through reduced vegetative growth; and generating renewable energy.

Project Nexus is a public-private-academic partnership among TID, the Department of Water Resources (DWR), Solar AquaGrid and the University of California, Merced.