Solar, solar everywhere

One of the advantages of solar power is that, compared to other energy sources, it’s relatively easy to site. Apart from aesthetic concerns and the ability to connect to the grid, there are few logistical obstacles to solar panels relative to, say, building a nuclear plant.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to announce a plan to allow private companies to build solar farms atop 250 acres of closed municipal landfills. The project is expected to be able to power as many as 50,000 homes, but it’s primarily seen as a way for the city to make money on otherwise marginal land.

In California, another novel plan isn’t getting quite as warm a reception. Solar developers want to cover the 400-mile-long California Aqueduct with floating solar panels. The thinking is that they could offset the power consumption of pumping stations along the aqueduct, while preventing evaporation loss. But a representative for the aqueduct says the evaporation losses aren’t that great, and the floating panels would be an obstacle for maintenance and emergency crews.

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