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UC Merced Researchers Describe Solar Over Canals Pilot Project

August 16, 2023
A rendering depicts what solar panels over canals will look like in Project Nexus.
Researchers publish opinion piece about Project Nexus

In an opinion piece published in today's Los Angeles Times, UC Merced researchers Brandi McKuin and Professor Roger Bales describe the work that led to the upcoming Project Nexus, a pilot project that will erect solar panels over canals in the Turlock Irrigation District.

Here is an excerpt:

In 2021, our team at UC Merced found that covering California's extensive network of irrigation canals with solar panels could make significant contributions to both clean energy and water conservation, serving two of the state's most pressing needs at once.

In addition to the added solar power, we found that shading all 4,000 miles of the state's canals and aqueducts could save as much as 63 billion gallons of water annually by reducing evaporation - enough to irrigate 50,000 acres of farmland or provide water to the homes of more than 2 million people.

Now we have a chance to put those projections to the test.

Read more here.