California is spending $20M to install solar panels over 1.6 miles of canals

Sathi43

Posts: 62   +81
It's typical California backwards thinking. The primary impetus for this is the water savings-- but they could accomplish that with plain plastic tarp for less than 1/10,000 the cost. As for the secondary benefit of generating electricity, spreading the panels out over thousands of kilometers of canals (as per the full implementation) would waste nearly all the energy generated in transmission losses.
What about scoring green points for politics?
 

dualkelly

Posts: 247   +310
Oh, something is being stolen, all right...your wallet if you're a CA taxpayer.
Seems like its a simple math problem. A mile is 5,280 feet and an average solar panel is 3x5 feet so if you stacked them short side together we can take 3 feet. That would equate to about 1760 solar panels for one row a mile long. to cover a canal perhaps we can use at least two rows maybe 2 but we shall use two for this problem. So for a mile and half roughly need 5280 solar panels. If we install 400watt panels an average cost of $450.You are looking at 2.3 million in panels alone. You need a massive amount of inverters and wires and then you have to pay people in labor and installation cost as elections bill at over 150 an hour. I would say 20 million sounds about right for a project this size. You also conveniently forget that you then sell the energy the solar panels produce thus regaining the money you spent eventually you will break a profit from such an installation.
Also for everyone who keeps dunking on California tend to forget that Cali is the 4th largest economy in the world and pays enough taxes that is supports all the poor red welfare queen states and then some.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,837   +3,096
TechSpot Elite
Seems like its a simple math problem. A mile is 5,280 feet and an average solar panel is 3x5 feet so if you stacked them short side together we can take 3 feet. That would equate to about 1760 solar panels for one row a mile long. to cover a canal perhaps we can use at least two rows maybe 2 but we shall use two for this problem. So for a mile and half roughly need 5280 solar panels. If we install 400watt panels an average cost of $450.You are looking at 2.3 million in panels alone. You need a massive amount of inverters and wires and then you have to pay people in labor and installation cost as elections bill at over 150 an hour. I would say 20 million sounds about right for a project this size. You also conveniently forget that you then sell the energy the solar panels produce thus regaining the money you spent eventually you will break a profit from such an installation.
Also for everyone who keeps dunking on California tend to forget that Cali is the 4th largest economy in the world and pays enough taxes that is supports all the poor red welfare queen states and then some.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I know because I was trying.

Those people couldn't even begin to figure out even the most basic cost\benefit analysis. And you are right, 1.6 miles of the panels, support structure and hardware for $20m is a bargain.

Good job man. (y) (Y)
 
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mbk34

Posts: 389   +289
They've been putting solar over canals in India for some time now. It's nice to see California catching up. Perhaps next they'll ban farms in the desert that use fossil water for irrigation? The whole southern half of the USA is running headlong towards a water crisis but very little seems to be being done.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,323   +8,518
BRAVO! Somebody in CA is actually thinking. While the cost might appear to be high, compared to having to build a bunch of de-salivation facilities or bringing in water from other sources, it's actually good and let's' not forget, just because it isn't profitable doesn't make it bad. The way the climate impact is going, these droughts are not going to end anytime soon so any successful effort is well worth the investment.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
Project nexus is projected at 13 gigawatts (13,000,000,000 watts) and cost 20 million dollars. 12 times the power for less than 1% of the cost.
For a result like that my local Government can "steal" from me all they want.
Please tell me this was a joke. That 13 GW figure is for covering all of California's 4,000 mile canal system.. Based on the cost of this pilot system, that would cost 2,500X as much: (see: https://www.tid.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Fact-Sheet_final_updated.pdf)

Furthermore, your calculation takes advantage of the ignorance of the average taxpayer, who doesn't realize that a nuclear plant produces power at a 90-95% capacity factor, whereas solar cells are lucky to reach a 30% CF. Put simply, if a nuclear plant has a 1GW output, it will reliably produce 90% of that figure over a year. A 1 GW solar farm won't produce even a third of that -- except at noon, on a cloudless day. That triples again the solar cost of a direct apples-apples comparison.

But these cost comparisons ignore the real problem with wind and solar, which any power engineer will tell you. Generating the power is only half the problem. Matching the supply to the demand in real time is an equally thorny problem ... and it explains why no nation in the world has come anywhere near generating even half its electricity from these sources. Wind and solar always produce either too little, or too much. Nations like Germany which managed to break a 30% figure only manage to do so by massively increasing their reliance on natural gas turbines, and by selling excess power to neighboring nations less bound to these "green" sources.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
So in other words, you're not from California. It's funny how everyone who is NOT from there loves to hate on California. Did you even read the article? It's a pilot project to see what kind of benefits it will have (if any). But hey, let's just hate on them before the first panel is even put down.
Because everyone that doesn't live in California still has to deal with the effects of your state's bullshit on an everyday basis.

You consistently elect some of the dumbest, most corrupt politicians and vote for the stupidest policies you can, then when it becomes completely untenable to live there, you diaspora out to the rest of the country so you can resume that process all over again in your new state.

Then to add injury to injury, everything is built and engineered to only operate optimally in your state's monoclimate. I just had to replace the goddam engine cradle in my car because the bastard had basically rusted completely through because it wasn't designed to handle places that have to salt the roads in the winter without being deep cleaned on a weekly basis, for example.

And then you act like it's the rest of the country that owes you the favor because you subsidize the federal government which we hate just as much because it's also basically just become a mechanism to enlarge and entrench California's death-grip on power.

The sooner the sea swallows California or the San Andreas shuffles you off to parts elsewhere the better.
 
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neeyik

Posts: 2,246   +2,705
Staff member
Leave the personal bickering alone, please. Stick to the quality discussions on the news topic that are already taking place.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 700   +575

 

Scott Barnes

Posts: 33   +48
There are ways in which the concept of deploying solar in this way could work quite well but there are also many unanswered questions as well. The pros of water conservation are inarguable when suggesting covering the canals and as it is almost certainly state owned land there wouldn't be any of the complex land rights issues.

As Endymio noted above with the equations the losses for transmission of the generated power would in a very short distance lead to a 100% loss of any generated power. Basically all this would accomplish would be to turn thousands of miles of mid voltage transmission lines into the worlds largest baseboard heater. This would lead to even hotter and more arid conditions across the areas of the state where this concept was deployed. Not to mention that it would have the opposite affect on unwanted evaporation as well as most certainly impacting the central valleys agricultural production, length and severity of fire seasons, etc... Also it would have cost 50 to 100 Billion dollars to reach this result.

We'll assume that this has been accounted for in the design lay out of the full scale system. We'll also presume that there would be a large number of sand or liquid battery storage solutions deployed across the 4000 miles of cited canals. These could then be linked to the larger grid via 240KV lines with minimal losses (still losses but no more than from conventional generating systems) and used to offset the feast or famine nature of electrical usage.
Sand battery prototype:

The costs associated with these concepts quickly become truly spectacular, I'm not simply talking about the financial cost associated here but the "Total cost of Operation" associated with this type of supposedly green developments. Germany has literally done this already and there are plenty of analysis papers from extremely reputable sources laying out in gross detail just how catastrophically short sited an idea it was. The answer in California was already deployed decades ago and has already offset the sunk costs associated. Modernization of plants like the Diablo Canyon Nuclear facility is a wildly more efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly solution that is a known quantity because as it turns out we already have millions of operational hours of data in actual working environment to go by.

Solar has its place in small form factor deployments on new home construction or via modular backyard panels for cabins, trailers etc. While the costs of solar have come down substantially over the last few years the total deployment cost regarding infrastructure to make it feasible is commonly left absent from the stated costs of panels.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,837   +3,096
TechSpot Elite
Because everyone that doesn't live in California still has to deal with the effects of your state's bullshit on an everyday basis.
Are you absolutely sure you want to accuse another state of actions that may adversely affect surrounding states? I live in Arkansas, and we get hit from the effects of Texas' pollution for freedom regularly. The Louisiana coastline is filthy because of Texas. No other uncommon link, just Texas. I guess the neighboring states of California will just have to suffer through the horrors of cleaner air and water.

What California is doing here is just an experiment. Just as the article said, it is a "proof of concept" test. If this works as they intend, and as well as it has in other locations, it will be a major way to answer at least 2 problems with one solution.
And on a smaller scale, as the article said it "also expects to experience water quality improvements and lower maintenance costs through reduced vegetative growth in the covered canals."

How you believe any of this will cause negative effects to surrounding states is your problem, but I would be curious as to what California has done that hurt other states.

There are ways in which the concept of deploying solar in this way could work quite well but there are also many unanswered questions as well.
And experiments like this are designed specifically to answer those questions.
Questions > Tests > Answers.
 
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AlaskaGuy

Posts: 700   +575
Are you absolutely sure you want to accuse another state of actions that may adversely affect surrounding states? I live in Arkansas, and we get hit from the effects of Texas' pollution for freedom regularly. The Louisiana coastline is filthy because of Texas. No other uncommon link, just Texas. I guess the neighboring states of California will just have to suffer through the horrors of cleaner air and water.

What California is doing here is just an experiment. Just as the article said, it is a "proof of concept" test. If this works as they intend, and as well as it has in other locations, it will be a major way to answer at least 2 problems with one solution.
And on a smaller scale, as the article said it "also expects to experience water quality improvements and lower maintenance costs through reduced vegetative growth in the covered canals."

How you believe any of this will cause negative effects to surrounding states is your problem, but I would be curious as to what California has done that hurt other states.


And experiments like this are designed specifically to answer those questions.
Questions > Tests > Answers.
Kind of like how the surrounding states have to suffer due to California sucking up their water RE Colorado River.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,837   +3,096
TechSpot Elite
Kind of like how the surrounding states have to suffer due to California sucking up their water RE Colorado River.
Suffer? I look to as 6 other states are leaching water that could be used for the 5th biggest economy in the world. Not to mention, if it weren't for what Californians pay for their water, others would be paying more for water than some pay for their house payments. :D
And remember that if this project nexus succeeds and expands, it will reduce the load.

This may surprise you, but Californians are getting tired of subsidizing water for other states to get it cheaper.

You probably won't get this, but there are 2 sides to every story.
 
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Puiu

Posts: 5,875   +4,885
TechSpot Elite
I don't get why people are so against this. It's a really good project. Cost aside, the downsides are minimal. You don't lose farm land and you actually save a ton of water.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,875   +4,885
TechSpot Elite
Please tell me this was a joke. That 13 GW figure is for covering all of California's 4,000 mile canal system.. Based on the cost of this pilot system, that would cost 2,500X as much: (see: https://www.tid.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Fact-Sheet_final_updated.pdf)

Furthermore, your calculation takes advantage of the ignorance of the average taxpayer, who doesn't realize that a nuclear plant produces power at a 90-95% capacity factor, whereas solar cells are lucky to reach a 30% CF. Put simply, if a nuclear plant has a 1GW output, it will reliably produce 90% of that figure over a year. A 1 GW solar farm won't produce even a third of that -- except at noon, on a cloudless day. That triples again the solar cost of a direct apples-apples comparison.

But these cost comparisons ignore the real problem with wind and solar, which any power engineer will tell you. Generating the power is only half the problem. Matching the supply to the demand in real time is an equally thorny problem ... and it explains why no nation in the world has come anywhere near generating even half its electricity from these sources. Wind and solar always produce either too little, or too much. Nations like Germany which managed to break a 30% figure only manage to do so by massively increasing their reliance on natural gas turbines, and by selling excess power to neighboring nations less bound to these "green" sources.

top 10 countries wind+solar:

#1 Denmark 51.9%
#2 Uruguay 46.7%
#3 Luxembourg 43.4%
#4 Lithuania 36.9%
#5 Spain 32.9%
#6 Ireland 32.9%
#7 Portugal 31.5%
#8 Germany 28.8%
#9 Greece 28.7%
#10 United Kingdom 25.2%

The US has a ton of space that they can use for solar which can't be used for farming or other things. The biggest problem other countries have is that solar takes up too much space that is generally used as farm land or pasture.

Having said that, 13% is much better than the 0.5% Russia has :)
 
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AlaskaGuy

Posts: 700   +575
top 10 countries wind+solar:

#1 Denmark 51.9%
#2 Uruguay 46.7%
#3 Luxembourg 43.4%
#4 Lithuania 36.9%
#5 Spain 32.9%
#6 Ireland 32.9%
#7 Portugal 31.5%
#8 Germany 28.8%
#9 Greece 28.7%
#10 United Kingdom 25.2%

The US has a ton of space that they can use for solar which can't be used for farming or other things. The biggest problem other countries have is that solar takes up too much space that is generally used as farm land or pasture.

Having said that, 13% is much better than the 0.5% Russia has :)
Some of us don't want to see the US end up like Europe who's about to learn what winter is like without Russian gas all because Europeans bought into the Greta Thunberg scam.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 700   +575
Suffer? I look to as 6 other states are leaching water that could be used for the 5th biggest economy in the world. Not to mention, if it weren't for what Californians pay for their water, others would be paying more for water than some pay for their house payments. :D
And remember that if this project nexus succeeds and expands, it will reduce the load.

This may surprise you, but Californians are getting tired of subsidizing water for other states to get it cheaper.

You probably won't get this, but there are 2 sides to every story.
India has a large economy so you can spare us on that fact. The fact of the matter is California is taking more than its fair share of water from the Colorado River while purchasing electricity from the likes of Washington state.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,837   +3,096
TechSpot Elite
India has a large economy so you can spare us on that fact.
India has 1.4 billion people and California has 39 million.
The fact of the matter is California is taking more than its fair share of water from the Colorado River while purchasing electricity from the likes of Washington state.
And we both love smart business practices. And it's not like California isn't paying for their water, not to mention some of the water other states use.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 700   +575
India has 1.4 billion people and California has 39 million.

And we both love smart business practices. And it's not like California isn't paying for their water, not to mention some of the water other states use.
California and smart is what's called an oxymoron.