Turlock solar panel canal project to begin this fall
Conceptual rendering of spanning the 110 foot-wide TID Main Canal (Courtesy Turlock Irrigation District)

Turlock solar panel canal project to begin this fall

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) will break ground this fall on a pilot project that’s a first for the nation, to install solar panel canopies over a portion of the district’s canals to operate and research a water-energy nexus.

Project Nexus, a public-private-academic partnership among TID, the Department of Water Resources
(DWR), Solar AquaGrid, and the University of California, Merced, the Project will assess reduction of water evaporation resulting from mid-day shade and wind mitigation; improvements to water quality through reduced vegetative growth; reduction in canal maintenance through reduced vegetative growth; and generation of renewable electricity.

Funding for the $20 million pilot project was allocated by Governor Newsom and the State Legislature through the 2021-22 state budget. DWR will oversee administration of the project, will provide technical assistance, as well as serve as a research partner.

“We are excited to explore new efforts to advance the integration of renewable energy into our water supply delivery system,” said Karla Nemeth, Director of DWR. “The project offers great potential, and we look forward to collaborating with our local and academic partners to advance these type of multi-benefit projects.”

Construction is expected to take two years and be completed in 2024.

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