Double Duty: Rooftop Solar Panels That Can Harvest Drinking Water
The solar industry is one that has been growing at a steady pace thanks to government subsidies and lower prices on equipment, but odds strong that are nobody would have guessed just how far rooftop solar panels have evolved. Today, an Arizona-based company called Zero Mass Water is manufacturing SOURCE solar “hydropanels,” which make it possible to harvest up to ten liters of clean drinking water per panel every day by pulling it from the air itself.
This type of technology has the potential to not only revolutionize the solar industry, but it can also make a substantial difference in areas with poor access to clean drinking water. If you’re in the solar installation business, here is why you should consider offering solar hydropanels to your customers.
How Do Hydropanels Work?
A single SOURCE hydropanel array features a standard solar panel with two hydropanels on each side of it. The hydropanels are made of two different proprietary materials, one that generates heat, and another that absorbs moisture from the air. This causes condensation to form, with the water droplets flowing into a 30-liter reservoir where calcium and magnesium are added.
From this point, the water is ready for drinking. The line from the reservoir can be connected to any tap from which the clean water will flow.
SOURCE hydropanels are engineered to only produce drinking water. The solar panels included on the arrays do not generate energy for the home, but rather the photovoltaic cells of the solar panel deliver power to a fan and the communication components within the two hydropanels.
With These Solar Hydropanels, Results Vary by Location
Regardless of where you operate your business, there is some degree of moisture in the air. Of course, some areas are more humid than others, so it is in these humid parts of the country where the SOURCE hydropanels will deliver the best results. However, even in Scottsdale, Arizona, home to Zero Mass Water’s headquarters, the hydropanels are still able to produce water.
How Long Do Hydropanel Arrays Last?
Zero Mass Water’s current hydropanel arrays are designed to last approximately ten years. Based on the price of the product (approximately $4,000 per two-panel array) and installation, the cost of ownership comes out to about $1.23 per day.
In terms of water production, the cost of ownership is between $0.12 and $0.30 per liter of water based on where the arrays are installed. The manufacturer states that, “for a household that regularly buys bottled water, payback will take about five years.”
Additionally, the company said that over its lifetime, a two-panel array may be able to produce enough drinking water to remove 70,000 plastic bottles from circulation.
New Solar Hydropanels Are More Than a Trend
With communities all over the world (including many right here in America, like Flint, Michigan), in severe need of clean drinking water, SOURCE hydropanels can be literally life saving. This makes the technology extremely valuable and practical, and more than just a trend in the solar industry.
While the costs are currently high, they will more than likely become more affordable over time, which will expand the product’s availability – and with it, your opportunities. If you want to learn more about Zero Mass Water and their groundbreaking hydropanels, click here.
[image via Zero Mass Water]
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