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Top 3 Ways Solar Equals Water Conservation

04/20/15

  09:40:00 am, by Laurel Hamilton   , 374 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News, Climate Change, State of Solar

Top 3 Ways Solar = Water Conservation

After 4 years of severe drought and this year’s winter snowpack at a pathetic 8% of typical levels, it’s obvious that California will have to find real solutions as populations rise and the effects of climate change worsen. We rely on the High Sierras’ snowmelt throughout the year for everything from our green lawns and fresh food (throughout the US) to our hydroelectric power.

Governor Jerry Brown’s recent mandate for cutting water use by 25 percent was overdue and necessary, but communities will have to step up conservation efforts in a big way. Ever since the Governor’s big announcement ideas for how best to curb water use have been flowing. So why should PV solar power generation be at the top of the list? What does water conservation have to do with solar?

    1. As noted previously in “Thirsty? Think Solar!“… compared to other energy sources, photovolataic solar energy systems have the lowest life cycle water use.  Increasing the amount of electricity generated by PV directly reduces our water demand
    2. Once a big player in California energy production, hydropower dropped from 12 percent in 2013 to just 6 percent in 2014 due to the extreme drought conditions. But solar has stepped in to fill that gap, with production more than doubling to provide 5 percent of California’s power in 2014—and that figure doesn’t even count rooftop solar! According to the Energy Information Administration, solar PV and concentrating solar power together offset 83 percent of the total hydropower decline.
    3. With drought comes a severe shortage of rainy days. Anyone with solar panels knows the joys of monitoring your energy output on a sunny day and the much sadder numbers that result on a gray day. As the drought persists, California’s sunshine provides an endless resource that should be tapped.

Solar is an increasingly important solution to water scarcity as well as energy security. With no sign of a solar slowdown in California—we are the first state to get 5% of its energy from solar—strong generation records are likely in coming years. While solar has been included in some communities’ plans to reduce water use (such as in the Los Angeles “pLAn“), many people are unaware of this solution. Communities, individuals and businesses installing rooftop solar can make a real positive difference for California’s dire water situation.

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