New Mexican water is steadily depleting, and it’s an issue that’s only become more problematic as time has gone on. Because New Mexico is a desert, water conservation is especially poignant in our climate – something apparent even in the watering laws imposed by the State. Additionally, the Ogallala Aquifer, an underground reservoir that has supplied New Mexican farmers for centuries, is steadily declining. At CST, we recognize that desert living requires special attention to water conservation efforts and are excited by the fact that solar energy production can play an important role.
Coal-fired power plants have significant impacts on water supply in the desert southwest. Conversely, solar PV arrays require no water to produce electricity, and only minimum water for periodic module cleaning. A PV array in New Mexico, generally speaking, will save about 1.25 gallons of water per year for every kilowatt-dc of solar array installed.
To give a hard example of the way that solar can save water, we can look to CST’s solarization of Amy Biehl Community School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. By producing electricity with solar instead of coal, they save 95,000 gallons of water per year! In recognition of their transition to solar and other environmental efforts, the school was recently awarded the “Green Ribbon Award”, an accolade that honors fifty schools around the nation that are making a concentrated effort to be ecologically-friendly. It’s a true win-win, all around.
Water conservation is obviously very important, as water is the lifeblood of our planet. Going solar to save money is a very valid reason but, for the future of our wellbeing, saving water through solar is equally essential. What is your water consumption like, and how do you think that CST could save you on both an economic and ecologic scale?