Solar panels over irrigation canals could provide the twin benefit of renewable power and reducing water loss
Worldwide, the primary canals constructed for irrigation extends well over half a million kilometers. That's a hell of a lot of canals.
These canals are on average about 50 meters wide. So that would make it over 25,000 sq km of total irrigation canal top available worldwide. That's a heck of a lot of area.
A sq km can accommodate a 100 MW solar PV power plant, so the total irrigation canal tops alone can host about 2500 GW or 2.5 TW of solar power (for comparison, total global solar installed capacity end 2020: about 0.7 TW)
That's humungous, even if one assumes that only a fraction of this area could be viable for solar power plants.
These panels also save millions of liters of water lost otherwise through evaporation - a 1 MW solar power plant could save 10 million liters of water from evaporation!
Canal top solar sounds exciting, doesn't it?
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