How solar panels could save billions of gallons of water each year

Solar panels (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(KXAN) — As the demand for solar power and clean energy increases, recent research has suggested solar panels could be used to not only collect solar power but also to save water.

Brandi McKuin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggests with her research solar panels could be used to generate clean energy and reduce evaporation, therefore conserving water.

Her research estimates if California’s 4,000 miles of open canals were covered with solar panels, it could save almost 65 billion gallons of water per year.

In a Yale Climatology Connections post, McKuin said, “Water scarcity is a big concern for our state, especially when we have frequent droughts. And climate change will only exacerbate drought, so any water savings is really critical.”

While solar panels already cover some canals in India, McKuin said more research is needed to determine if this could be applied in California, but it is a potentially promising way to simultaneously generate renewable energy and conserve water in warmer years to come.