Despite the fact that two thirds of our planet is covered in water, access to clean drinking water is – unfortunately – very much a challenge for a significant portion of the human population. Adding to this is the reliance on fresh water for pretty much all of our food production.
Clearly, clean fresh water is a valuable commodity.
As most homeowners, who feel compelled to spend a notable portion of their income on solar panels, are quite conscientious about the environment, it is only natural to wonder about this incredible liquid resource and its relationship with solar panels.
Fortunately, for the average home installation, solar panels do not use water in order to produce power. Water may be consumed during cleaning (for environments that have high levels of dust or pollen) but generally speaking, solar panels will work fine for the decades that they are employed, without consuming any water.
In fact, when it comes to fresh water, solar panels are arguably the best way to produce the electricity needed to power our world!
Solar Panels Vs Conventional Thermal Power Production
Most people are probably not aware of it, but there is a good chance your thermal power plant is consuming a LOT of water.
An interesting article published on arsTECHNICA shows that power production consumes more water than both irrigation and residential.
So in other words, more water is consumed in the electrical powering of our lives than in the production of the food we need to eat or in the basic hydration and sanitation of our species.
Let that sink in.
This is just one more example of how solar panels are, in fact, good for the environment!
Solar Panels: Water Use In Manufacturing
According to the USGS, manufacturing is a large consumer of water. Virtually everything built in large quantities uses water during the manufacturing process. As to how much water is used in the production of solar panels, this is going to depend on just how conscientious the individual manufacturer chooses to be.
As solar panels are often manufactured in other countries, where environmental issues are often of a lower priority than profit, you may or may not be endorsing some bad behavior. So it pays to do your homework. Make sure to purchase solar panels from a reputable manufacturer.
Regardless of which company you choose to support, once the solar panels are installed, you should feel confident that the power they produce is free of any water consumption – thusly an improvement over the average utility provider.
The term ‘solar panels’ is often reserved for only rooftop applications, but this is an inaccurate assumption. Many things are being built today with their own solar panels included. This is great for consumers as it allows them to purchase/utilize a product that essentially provides its own power.
For example, how many calculators around the world now have a small solar cell included? How about the sometimes decorative, sometimes functional outdoor solar light? There are also solar phone chargers – great for power on the go. Even some bird baths are now solar powered!
And if those all seem small and minuscule in their contribution, then please consider solar powered aircraft.
The truth is, we have just begun to utilize solar power. As solar cells continue to improve, both in cost and in capability, the amount of fresh water (a commodity that is so precious to our lives) consumed by power production should get smaller and smaller.
And this is exactly what technology is supposed to do – improving on the quality of our lives while reducing the burden upon nature!