In a move that may soon be replicated elsewhere, the Gila River Indian Community recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put solar panels over a stretch of irrigation canal on its land south of Phoenix.
It will be the first project of its kind in the United States to actually break ground, according to the tribe’s press release.
“This was a historic moment here for the community but also for the region and across Indian Country,” said Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis in a video published on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The first phase, set to be completed in 2025, will cover 1000 feet of canal and generate one megawatt of electricity that the tribe will use to irrigate crops, including feed for livestock, cotton and grains.
The idea is simple: install solar panels over canals in sunny, water-scarce regions …