San Diego to experiment new green option

May 30, 2017 by  

As communities and individuals consider alternative sources of energy, the San Diego County Water Authority has come up with a new idea: floating solar panels.

The agency would install solar panels on the Olivenhain Reservoir, which is located near Escondido. The installation would cover 20 acres, and it would be the first time such a project has been built in Southern California, though several similar efforts have begun in Japan and in Northern California.

Solar panels are not new—there are a number of installations up and running, either public or private—but they are rare on water. Experts in the industry, however, say floating the panels has a lot of advantages.

Firstly, open reservoirs like Olivenhain lose a lot of water to evaporation, and the panels help reduce this phenomenon. Secondly, the panels provide shade, which keeps the water cooler and reduces the chances of contamination, such as algae blooms. Thirdly, the water keeps the solar panels cooler, and the lower temperatures help them operate more efficiently, since they are essential huge semiconductors.

The panels would take up about 10% of the lake surface, and would not be easily visible to passersby. Environmental studies could take up to a year, and if plans are approved, installation could be finished by the end of 2018.

Agencies like this can work with newsletter printing companies to create a piece for residents explaining the project.