How Solar Farms Save Water and Energy
Solar farms are often hailed as one of the leading renewable answers to the energy needs of an ever-growing human population. Are they the future of green energy? That answer seems positive when you compare solar to other, less modern methods. The differences can be staggering. Not only do solar farms require far less water and energy to operate and maintain than other methods, but they have also reached a point at which their construction is justifiably cost-efficient.
Solar Farms Are Cost-Efficient
For many property owners considering the option, concern about solar panel cost is at the forefront of their minds, more so than conservation concerns. People are only human, after all. While it is true that in the past, going solar held a hefty price tag, this is no longer the case. Many programs throughout the country currently offer financial incentives for citizens to install solar panels for less than or equal to the cost of installing ordinary roof shingles. Where the benefits of expensive solar panel installation once only became apparent over time, they are now much more obvious and immediate. These advantages apply both to single house owners and those with property on which installing a full solar farm might be beneficial on a much larger financial scale.
In addition to the comparatively low cost of installation, minimal maintenance grants even further efficacy to solar farms as an energy source. Contrary to popular detractor hearsay, solar panel systems are quite hardy and long-lasting. Just as car manufacturers stress test their vehicles, so do many solar panel companies. No business that wants to have a future will put out a faulty product. In the age of the Google review, it is a simple task to spot such questionable companies. A bit of review-combing will find a trustworthy vendor, just as with any other product.
Solar Farms Save Water
This may seem rather counterintuitive. What does solar energy have to do with water in the first place? The answer is nothing, and that is exactly the point. Most other types of large scale energy production rely heavily on water. Coal and nuclear power consume mind-boggling amounts of water in an effort to keep things cool and, by extension, safe. In the case of nuclear power plants, that extension is extremely important. If a solar farm were to experience critical failure, not much would happen, especially when you compare it to the known risks—small as they may be—involved with nuclear power stations.
Geography is also often a factor in the eagerness to go solar. For example, in desert cities such as Phoenix, Arizona, or the infamous Las Vegas, Nevada, solar's lack of need for water-cooling and other uses of that locally precious resource makes for quite an attractive option. Indeed, several states are seeking to convert from older methods to solar, and not just the more water-scarce ones either. The United States does seem to be begrudgingly warming to the option of solar energy.
Solar Farms Conserve Energy
In terms of energy, any renewable source will require less than one that is non-renewable and has to be harvested. Coal is dug out of the ground, oil is pumped, natural gas is fracked... All of these require machines and human labor to extract and then distribute, and that is before we get into the operational needs of any given power production facility. Meanwhile, solar panels simply need to be built and maintained, perhaps with some administrative buildings for larger-scale operations. One day their parts will need to be replaced, yes, but once they are in position, there is little more effort needed—if any—to keep them extracting and funneling their energy source.
Between their low up-front cost of installation and their outstanding energy and water efficiency, solar farms and other solar power collection structures are celebrating a continuing rise in popularity on a global scale. While solar might not be the sole savior of freshwater resources or the best option for every region's needs, it is most certainly a fierce contender.