Solar energy is eco-friendly, although it usually needs a huge expanse of land. An option in India is to convert the nation’s rivers and canals into shimmering solar-panel pathways. Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased India’s solar asset target to $100 billion, asserting that solar energy will account for more than 10% of the country’s total power blend by 2022.
Solar Panels over Canals in India
Solar systems require a lot of ground in India, which is also one of the world’s extremely high populous nations, adding to nearly 17.7% of the global population. Due to the shortage of huge tracts of land, energy companies are focusing their efforts on establishing solar panels over irrigation canals and rivers, on walls, and even offshore in reservoirs. Solar plants built on canals have two key advantages: effective, economical land usage and decreased water evaporation from the canals.
A ten-megawatt plant has preserved 16 hectares of land and might prevent 90 million liters of water from evaporating every year. In addition, the lower temperatures caused by the water bodies below the canal-top plants boost panel efficiency by around 2.5 – 5%.
However, there are certain disadvantages. The expense of constructing canal-top solar plants is greater than that of traditional solar plants. Since the water below raises the threat of corrosion, the supports must be galvanized with a defensive zinc layer.
Solar power development over canals is an evolving response to the energy–water–food nexus that can consequence in numerous advantages for water and energy transportation. Case studies of over-canal solar photovoltaic arrays have exhibited improved photovoltaic execution due to the cooler microclimate next to the canal. In supplement, shade from the photovoltaic panels has been shown to lessen evaporation and potentially mitigate aquatic weed growth. Though, the dehydration savings and financial co-benefits have not been quantified across major canal systems. Here we use local hydrologic and techno-economic models of solar photovoltaic panels covering California’s 6,350 km canal network, which is the world’s biggest transportation system and covers a wide range of climates, insolation rates and water costs.
Additionally, the economic advantages from shading the canals offset the added costs of the cable-support structures needed to span the canals. The net current value of over-canal solar surpasses traditional over ground solar by 20–50%, difficult the convention of leaving canals discovered and calling into question our understanding of the most profitable locations for solar power.