Our bodies are made of it, 70% of the Earth is covered by it and we can’t survive for more than a few days without drinking it. But did you know that water is also used to make the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and even the electricity that powers our homes? It takes a significant amount of water to produce most of the things we consume every single day. When combined with the effects of climate change, the world’s precious water resources are at serious risk!
Here are three major ways solar panels can help save water:
1) Capturing Sunlight Does Not Directly Require Water
Extracting and processing fossil fuels often requires a ton of water! When fossil fuel companies drill for natural gas and oil, they often inject high-pressure liquid into wells to “fracture” underground rocks so the fuel can be extracted. This high-pressure liquid consists mostly of water, which is why they call it “hydraulic fracturing,” or as it’s more commonly known, “fracking.” A study from Duke University found that energy companies used nearly 250 billion gallons of water to extract shale gas and oil from fracking in the US between 2005 and 2014, which generated about 210 billion gallons of wastewater!
2) Solar Panels Don’t Use Water To Generate Power
Conventional electric power plants use large amounts of water to cool themselves off. Solar panels generate power with no need for cooling and no need for water! A January 2015 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reveals that producing a unit of electricity with solar panels uses as little as 1/200th of the water used by a typical power plant.
3) Powering Electric Cars With Solar Panels Requires Less Water Than Cars With Gas/Biofuels
Using solar power can also reduce your water footprint on the roadways. Since solar power generation has a small lifecycle water footprint, driving an electric car powered by solar panels likewise has a minimal water impact, especially when compared with gasoline (an oil-based fuel that propels the vast majority of today’s vehicles). Just like coal and natural gas, oil takes a great deal of water to extract and process. Argonne National Laboratory estimates that it takes roughly 3-6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline. The U.S. consumes around 375 million gallons of gasoline per day, which translates into several hundred billion gallons of water consumption per year. If you’re into saving water, driving a solar-powered electric vehicle is a wise choice!
Solar power is notably water-friendly for a variety of reasons and can help to reduce water use across the board. Make the switch today!