Along with a few other cities in Florida, Tampa has tremendous potential for renewable energy use. Why? Solar power, one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy source, is abundantly available in the Sunshine State. You know that photovoltaic (PV) systems cut back on your monthly electricity bills, reduce pollution, and keep the environment clean. Then, did you know that solar panels also help in saving water? We’re blessed with vast water resources, including oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, and ponds. However, their excessive use and people’s shortsighted planning may dry up the water resources soon.
Based on the observations of environment specialists, the world may be on the brink of massive water scarcity with devastating results. This implies that your choice of energy has a direct bearing on the water resources. According to the findings of the International Energy Agency, energy production in the traditional way has led to approximately 15 percent of extraction of this natural resource throughout the world. In such a scenario, solar panels come as a boon to us, helping to minimize the wastage of water and making our planet a better place to lives. Wondering how? Here are three ways how PV systems aid in water conservation:
1. Absorbing the Sun’s Energy Doesn’t Require Water
Capturing the free energy from the sun does not involve the direct use of water but the extraction of fossil fuels and their processing do. While extracting oil and natural gas, the fossil fuel companies insert high-pressure fluid into the wells. This process helps break the rocks underground for fuel withdrawal. The liquid injected contains maximum water, a process known as fracking. After the extraction, volumes of water are required to refine and transport. According to a study by Duke University, the power companies in the US consumed as high as 250 gallons of water to extract oil and gas between 2005 and 2015. The entire extraction process led to the wastage of 210 gallons of water. Based on the findings of the Union for Concerned Scientists, even coal mining in America uses about 80-230 million gallons of water daily.
2. Solar Doesn’t Require Water to Generate Electricity
The energy produced by solar panels involves no water use. That is because PV systems require no cooling. However, traditional power generation plants consume gallons of water to cool off. As per the records of the US Geological Survey, the American power plants extracted about 45 percent water, 51 percent fresh water, and 38 percent fresh surface water for power generation in 2010. A report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that the generation of a single unit of electrical energy through rooftop solar uses only one-two hundredth of water, which is negligible. With the use of solar PV systems in the country, you could do your part by saving gallons of water in America’s power generation plants. And guess what? It is sufficient to fill a few oversized swimming pools in the country.
3. Floating Solar Saves More than You Think
The concept of floating panels has taken the world by storm. From the US to Japan, this technology is the latest buzz in the alternative energy sector. If you cover large water bodies in the Sunshine State with solar panels, you will not only produce green energy but also minimize the rate of evaporation. Take for instance a vineyard in the country. If it has floating panels set up on the irrigation tank, the PV cells will generate clean energy on the one hand, and prevent the vineyards pools from drying up in summer by minimizing evaporation by up to 70 percent.
Average homeowners may not take water conservation as the most important impetus for switching to renewable energy in Tampa, but their individual choice can go a long way to save the country’s water resources for their future generations. Thus, you can see that you go solar not only to reduce your utility bills; you help save a lot of water in the process. Therefore, it will be highly commendable, if you take the initiative to set up rooftop solar for the greater good of the country and the environment as a whole.