A new solar desalination system to resolve water shortage

Feb 6, 2020 10:02 AM ET
  • SolarCity, a nonprofit gotten by Tesla, released the not-for-profit GivePower in 2013-- and the Rive brothers, SolarCity's creators, are on the board.
A new solar desalination system to resolve water shortage
Image: GivePower

GivePower is launching containerized, solar-powered water desalination and filtration plants in Mombasa, Kenya and La Gonave, Haiti this quarter. Like GivePower’& rsquo; s debut solar-powered microgrid desalination plant, which went live in Kiunga, Kenya in 2018, these new tasks will operate with Tesla’& rsquo; s powerwall battery storage innovation. At launch, both of the nonprofit’& rsquo; s new solar water farm tasks will produce a maximum of 75,000 liters of water a day by coupling a 50-kW solar system with 120 kW-hrs of Tesla batteries; together this solar plus battery system will power 2 low-wattage, reverse osmosis desalination pumps that run at the same time to ensure continuous operation.

When establishing solar-powered desalination tasks, determining the point at which the technology and the operating design make economic sense is key due to the fact that the one of the most significant difficulties with solar desalination is the amount of energy that it requires to desalinate sea water. Often, this outsized energy requirement implies that a plant needs a bigger solar selection, which increases the cost of the project.

“& ldquo; We require to see that [these philanthropic] projects are economically viable –-- that these projects can continue to run without ongoing financing from donors to keep the systems operational,” & rdquo; said Kyle Stephan, GivePower’& rsquo; s vice president of operations. In addition to building solar water farms, GivePower trains regional specialists to operate the plants.

GivePower’& rsquo; s solar water farm systems cost just over $500,000, and they have a 20-year expected life expectancy.

Commercial applications for GivePower’& rsquo; s solar water farm innovation are not in the pipeline presently, according to Hayes Barnard, CEO of GivePower.

When it concerns developing industrial off-grid, solar-powered desalination systems for water-stressed communities, market officials see solar microgrid players as particularly well put to offer services.

Drought, saltwater invasion and climate change are heightening the requirement for options that utilize sustainable energy to address water scarcity. Concurrently, falling PV rates and energy storage innovations are making solar-powered desalination solutions more enticing.

So far, all of GivePower’& rsquo; s solar water farms are seaside well-based desalination plants. This is since 98% of the world & rsquo; s water is in the ocean, and 73% of the world’& rsquo; s population live in coastal areas, where well water is vulnerable to ending up being brackish, Barnard kept in mind. Furthermore, off-coast solar desalination plants’ & rsquo; intake processes are expensive, and seaside well-based solar water farms do not stress underground aquifers.

For its job on La Gonave, which is off the coast of Port-au-Prince, GivePower is using worldwide structure code seismic requirements for its solar water farm’& rsquo; s concrete structure, and it is building a solar canopy that can holding up against a category-four typhoon.

Initially, the not-for-profit concentrated on offering solar-powered lighting to schools without electricity in the hope that this would open instructional chances for ladies in developing countries. However rapidly it ended up being clear that helping neighborhoods accomplish water security was essential to resolving this problem because often girls were often missing school since their days were spent fetching water, according to Barnard, a GivePower co-founder. GivePower ended up being an independent organization in 2016.

Last week GivePower’& rsquo; s solar-powered desalination innovation received the UAE’& rsquo; s International Water Effect Award for innovative little tasks.

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