For many years, scientists from all over the world have been trying to come up with more and more new developments to make life easier for humanity, to make it more comfortable and safe. Sometimes it occurs to them to combine two technologies in order to increase the performance of each of them. It was for this purpose that the idea of placing solar panels was developed, but the potential of this concept, it turns out, was underestimated. After all, the technology of "solar" canals allows you to save not only a significant amount of space, but also … a lot of water.
Experts from the University of California at Santa Cruz came to such an unusual concept for installing solar panels. So, with the help of modeling, they calculated the economic feasibility of building a network of so-called "solar canals" in the state of California. The batteries are supposed to be placed over one of the world's largest water supply systems, which, according to Novate.ru, provides nearly thirty million citizens with water.
According to the results of the study, if the Californian canals are equipped with solar panels on top, then they can be used in two forms at once - both as a source of drinking water and as farms with the use of renewable energy sources. However, it turned out that the introduction of such a concept will also help save just a huge amount of water in the canals themselves.
Experts estimate that, in addition to providing solar energy, the shade from the solar panels prevents the liquid from evaporating from the canal - according to Novate.ru, this way can save more than 63 billion gallons of water per year in the state. One of the lead concept developers, Dr. Brandi McQueen, said of the study's findings: “We were surprised by the significant savings on evaporation, which we forecast will be 82%. This amount of water can be of great importance in regions where water is scarce.”
The shade from solar panels also provides a number of other benefits that clearly speak in favor of the introduction of this concept. This, for example, will reduce the growth of aquatic weeds, which in turn will reduce maintenance costs for operators. In addition, evaporation will not completely disappear, and the volume that will still be released will certainly have a lower temperature and will rather cool the solar panels themselves, which has a positive effect on their efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity.
The only thing that the researchers involved in the development of the "solar canal" project has not yet been able to accurately calculate is the amount of energy that such a network could generate, as well as the total cost of building such a large infrastructure. But for this, an example of a similar concept already working is useful. In Gujarat, India, a 750-meter canal has already been covered with solar panels, and the project cost more than $ 18 million to build.
But not only Indians and Americans already want to introduce "solar canals" at home. Singapore has already become interested in promising development. The thing is that, being an island state, it practically does not have the opportunity to expand its territory, and therefore the government has already begun to install floating solar panels in the sea and in lakes, so as not to occupy an already in short supply space on land. Therefore, the concept of placing panels above the channels suited them perfectly.
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