Arizona has a first: The US state will get the first solar panels on a river. The project took a long time to get going, but now the time has come. There is an interesting 'by-catch': solar panels help fight drought.
Arizona is extremely dry right now: The drought has been going on for 15 years, which means more wildfires and less and less water flowing into the Colorado River. It's time for a new solution to tackle this problem, solar panels along the river.
As they form a sort of bridge over the river, less water evaporates from the river due to the hot sun. The water ensures that the solar panels get some cooling down. Additionally, the same sun shining on the panels generates a lot of electricity. It's no small bridge either: the government plans to build 289 kilometers of solar panel bridges. Not in one piece, but many of them cross the state.
The project takes a few years and is funded, among other things, by the US government and engineers from the military contribute their knowledge and skills. In the first phase, solar panels will be installed on an area of 305 meters and it is planned to generate 1 MW of renewable energy.
Solar panels over the river
By the way, this is not entirely a first: in 2015, a successful pilot was already carried out in Gujarat, India, with a total of 750 meters of solar panels on the Krishna River. It had everything to be a success, but the project has been slow so far because the panels are difficult to fit properly. A shame, because there's also an area where it's unnecessary: buying land for solar panels placed above a river isn't always necessary.
A pilot has now been launched in California as well, and in addition to the above benefits, it is hoped that the solar panels will also prevent the growth of unwanted crops in and around the water.
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