Gila River Indian Community will produce solar power, slow evaporation with canal project
The Gila River Indian Community will install solar panels over one of its canals to produce power and reduce evaporation from some of its irrigation waterways. The tribe, whose reservation lies south of Phoenix, signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Nov. 9 to begin installation of solar panels that will shade irrigation canals. The first phase will cover 1,000 feet of canal over the tribe’s I-10 Level Top Canal, close to the tribe’s northern border. The solar panels will produce 1 megawatt of electric power in a pilot project to demonstrate the concept’s feasibility. The power generated from the $6.7 million project, including a $517,000 grant from the Bureau of Reclamation, will be used for irrigation facilities and tribal farmers.