Solar is without a doubt, the greatest abundant source of energy available on Earth. So, capturing the energy of the sun and transforming it into electricity is the ideal solution for reducing the Earth’s dependence on fossil fuels and to help fight the current climate crisis. The sun is basically a natural nuclear reactor that releases photons, which are small packets of energy. Each hour Earth is impacted with enough photons to generate enough solar energy to accommodate a full year’s worth of global energy. Solar panels are made up of solar cells that are constructed with a negative and a positive layer that make an electric field, which works like a battery. Everyone knows the importance of water, in fact, the Earth is made up of 70% water and your body is mostly water, so it is important to conserve as much water as possible for future generations. It’s important to understand the importance of using solar energy to reduce water usage and how solar energy help us to save water.
How Does Solar Energy Reduce Water Usage?
Water is used to make a vast array of things that you may not be aware of. For instance, water is used to make clothing, automobiles, and even used to power your home’s electricity. Water is used to produce energy in power plants as well as extract, process, and transport various fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal. It takes extreme amounts of water to make most of the things that are consumed on a daily basis. Unfortunately, when combined with the significant amount of use and the effects of climate change, Earth’s precious water resources are seriously at risk. Solar energy is a water-friendly source of power and it can significantly reduce the amount of water usage in several ways. Some of the ways how solar energy help us to save water include:
- Solar panels don’t require water to generate power. A traditional electric power plant uses massive amounts of water to cool down, whereas solar panels generate power without the need to cool, so no water is needed.
- Obtaining solar fuel, which is sunlight, doesn’t require water. On the other hand, processing and extracting fossil fuels generally require massive amounts of water. When a fossil fuel company is drilling for natural gas, they typically inject high-pressure liquid into the well, which “fractures the rocks underground in order for the fuel to be extracted. The high-pressure liquid is typically mostly water and after the fracking is done, more water is necessary for the refining process and transporting the fuel.
- Making solar panels does require some water, but thanks to efficiency and recycling, the process is becoming less water-intensive. Methods like recycling and efficiency may help to minimize the impact on the water footprint and the impact on the environment. The fact is solar panel technologies require the most minimum amount of water use.
- One of the best examples of how solar energy help us to save water is through automobiles. An electric vehicle that is powered with solar panels uses significantly less water than it takes to power a vehicle with biofuels or gasoline. The use of solar power for automobiles can also help to reduce your water footprint on the roadways because the lifecycle of water footprints is much less that than the water impact of a vehicle that is power by fuels.
- When left unchecked, bodies of freshwater can have dramatic losses of water. Floating solar panels that partially cover large bodies of water and reservoirs is beneficial for increasing clean power as well as reducing water evaporation.
- Local water districts that utilize solar panels have a vast improvement in water efficiency and management. A water plant that treats drinking water generally spends a large amount of the operating budget on energy, but solar-powered water treatment plants do not require as much electricity as a water-intensive power plant. The reduced use of electricity in a solar-powered water facility also means that the cost to users is generally minimal when compared to the cost when water is provided by an electric-powered water plant.
Almost all of the electricity in the United States is generated by thermoelectric power plants. Thermoelectric means the plants primarily use fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) to boil water to create steam, which is used to turn the turbines to generate electricity. Due to the massive amount of water that is required, thermoelectric power the majority of water is taken from lakes, rivers, and underground aquifers. Only a small percentage of the Earth’s water is freshwater, so switching to solar energy can help to eliminate most of the freshwater withdrawals that are required for electricity generation.