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Floating solar panels, a bet of the Panama Canal to be greener

Combating climate change is one of the priorities of the Panama Canal because its operation depends on having water in the lakes. In recent years, innovative green initiatives.

Panama, Nov 25 (EFE) .- Combating climate change is one of the priorities of the Panama Canal because its operation depends on having water in the lakes. interoceanic has launched innovative green initiatives in recent years. solar project has a minimum life of 25 years, which means that the strip of land where the solar panels are installed will be unusable for any other use during all that time, "explains the administrator of Energy Efficiency of the waterway, Urho Gonzal.

In addition, he adds, the installation of solar parks involves in many occasions trees, a practice that would endanger the watershed of the canal, where water is stored for the operations of the interoceanic route itself but also for the supply of the Panamanian capital.

"There is no point in devastating trees to put a solar plant in. In the canal we have plenty of lakes and, above, the efficiency of the solar panels is greater when they are on the water, "adds the electrical engineer Lucas Rojas channel.

According to different studies, photovoltaic panels can produce up to 20% more energy if placed on the water because it does not accumulate heat, unlike the earth.

"There is no project like this in countries with tropical climate, although they are very fashionable in the countries Asians and in Europe. the world's largest, which has a power of up to 30 megawatts and which is capable of supplying electricity to some 15,000 homes operating at full capacity.

The project they are leading Gonzal and Rojas is much more discreet, but it is an important advance in the green strategy of the channel. and close to the Miraflores locks, on the Pacific side of the canal.

At the moment, only 88 plates have been connected, which generate 22 kilowatts and supply a small workshop where they are arranged Some of the tugboats that help large ships to cross the canal.

The engineers are working on a larger project, which must pass the approval of the board of directors and consisting of the construction of a 10-hectare plant in this same zone of the lake, which generates 10 megawatts and which, instead of supplying energy to the small workshop, connects directly to the channel's own network.

"Our goal is that the future park will be able to supply 50% of the energy the channel needs to maintain its operations in the hours pico de sol, "says Gonzal.

" The potential of Gatun Lake is immense, "admits his companion.

The engineers were especially worried that the photovoltaic plates would rob them oxygen to the lake and that the rich ecosystem of the canal will be damaged.

But they have realized that the opposite happens: the panels prevent certain plant species from growing hydrophytes, such as water lily, which do harm the oxygenation of water.

"We also have no problems with crocodiles or lizards in the lake. has risen to the plates ", jokes Rojas.

The Panama Canal, built by the United States at the beginning of the 19th century and transferred to Panamanian hands on December 31, 1999, is considered one of the greatest works of modern engineering.

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