70% of our planet is covered in water. Our bodies are mostly water. Human beings cannot survive more than a few days without it. By all accounts- water is the cornerstone of both civilization and life.
But did you know it’s also used to make many of the things we wear, cars we drive and even the electricity we use to power our homes? As the climate changes, our access to water and our supply is beginning to change and be put at increasing risk.
Solar energy has helped to alleviate some of this stress by using significantly less water than other means of energy production. Here are three ways solar panels have helped save water.
Solar panels don’t use water to create power
Traditional power plants either use water to generate power or use water to cool themselves off. In fact, in 2010, US power plants were responsible for as much as 45% of the total water withdrawals in the world and over 51% of fresh water withdrawals.
Solar panels generate power without a need for cooling and zero need for water. They use 1/200th overall of the water used by a typical power plant to produce 1 unit of power.
They help manage water use
Water utilities across the country treat drinking water – and a large part of their budget is spent on energy to do it. Solar systems actually help these water treatment utilities reduce their energy costs. With the savings, companies are able to use the extra resources on things like more efficient treatment and state of the art purification technology. That means a better product in greater abundance for customers.
Solar fuel doesn’t require water
Processing fossil fuels requires a lot of water. How much water? Well consider alone – that fracking alone in the United States from 2005 to 2014 resulted about 210 billion gallons of wastewater. Incredible, right?
Coal mining also uses a lot of water. In fact, it’s estimated that 80 million to 230 million gallons are used each day. That’s as much as 10-20 million daily showers if you can believe it. To boot – the adverse effect on the environment – particularly strip mining, has buried thousands of miles of Appalachian headwater streams.
Simply put – solar needs a panel and a plug.
We’re not there yet, but we’re heading to a future where water problems could reach a crisis point. Thankfully, we have solar power at our disposal. If you want an easy way to help save water – go solar.