This artist’s rendering provided by Solar AquaGrid, shows a wide-span solar canal canopy being piloted in California’s Central Valley. Credit: Solar AquaGrid / AP

Back in 2015, California’s dry earth was crunching under a fourth year of drought. Then-Governor Jerry Brown ordered an unprecedented 25% reduction in home water use. Farmers, who use the most water, volunteered too to avoid deeper, mandatory cuts.

Brown also set a goal for the state to get half its energy from renewable sources, with climate change bearing down.

Yet when Jordan Harris and Robin Raj went knocking on doors with an idea that addresses both water loss and climate pollution — installing solar panels over irrigation canals — they couldn’t get anyone to commit.

Fast forward eight years. With devastating heat, record-breaking wildfire, looming crisis on the Colorado River, a growing commitment to fighting climate change, and a little bit of movement-building, their company Solar AquaGrid and partners are preparing to break ground on the first solar-covered canal project in the United States.

“All of these coming […]

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