Most of the environmental benefits of solar panels are already well-known. However, there is much more to solar power than meets the eye. In addition to meeting the energy needs of people around the world, solar technologies are optimizing the ways we use and consume water. From building solar water heaters to developing cutting-edge water decontamination technologies, scientists and energy experts have been busy improving how we treat one of Earth’s most important natural resources.
- Minimal water consumption
Many cities are experiencing frequent shortages of fresh water as a result of climate change. Worryingly, recent projections endorsed by the UN state that global freshwater demand will exceed supply by around 40% in 2030.
One way to reduce global consumption is to rely on energy sources that are less reliant on water. Although generating solar power requires some degree of water consumption during the manufacturing process, solar panels do not use any water when in use. Compare this to other common forms of energy production: coal-fired power plants use over 15,500 gallons of water for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced, whilst nuclear power plants require more than 14,700 gallons per MWh.
- Fewer water contamination concerns
The water used in oil drilling and nuclear energy production is much more likely to become polluted and enter the general water supply than the water used in manufacturing solar panels. Reducing public health risks associated with contaminated water is a particularly urgent issue in the US, especially following contamination scandals like the crisis in Flint, Michigan.
- Water heating
Solar panels are not the only technology available that harnesses the sun’s power. Solar water heaters convert the sun’s rays into heat rather than electricity, helping to heat water in an environmentally friendly way.
This is great news for homeowners looking to cut their heating bills and reduce their carbon footprint as solar water heaters are becoming increasingly affordable and widely available. Typically, a solar heating system can provide up to 90% of a property’s hot water during the summer and up to 60% in winter. As well as helping to lower emissions and save money, this could extend the life of a homeowner’s boiler by an impressive 60%. For those hoping to go totally green, thermodynamic panels are a cutting-edge technology that could help to produce 100% of your energy and hot water needs.
- Water purification
New special solar technology can produce energy while simultaneously purifying contaminated water: life changing news for people in developing countries where water is scarce and water-borne diseases are common.
Thanks to the development of solar farms in dry regions, people no longer lack essential access to safe drinking water for their families. Solar-based purifying devices are affordable, versatile, and can be implemented on both local and industrial scales.
Boundless is proud of its longtime partnership with GivePower, a pioneering producer and installer of solar water farms in water-scarce regions of the world. Their clean energy and water systems can provide clean drinking water for up to 35,000 people every day. Find out more about their work here.
If you’re ready to make the switch to solar energy or want more information about its many benefits, contact the team at Boundless today.