An environmental crisis, an economic crisis

Daily we witness extreme phenomena of severe precipitation and extreme droughts, in different geographies of the world.

When we look at the Iberian Peninsula and analyze the historical data of precipitation in this place, we see an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts, along with heat waves.

This phenomenon has an impact on vegetation at various levels, namely on vegetation variability, carbon balance, soil degradation and agricultural productivity, especially cereals, rainfed crops that are highly dependent on rainfall.

The expected decrease in water availability, because of decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature, rises the need to determine the ecological and environmental impacts of climate variability and change in the Mediterranean region. The result, with a tendency to worsen by 2050, will be “less water in the soil, rivers and aquifers as the 21st century progresses”.

Even without changes in human consumption requirements, plants and animals will find it more difficult to meet all their water needs. In the case of humans, it will be a great challenge to have all the water available to maintain the current lifestyle.

Therefore, it is foreseen that there will have to be a greater rationalization of this unique resource, for a more efficient and rational use. Thus, when a resource is scarce and demand is high, it is natural that its market value goes through the roof. In this value chain and priority of use, it is natural that the practice of washing photovoltaic modules with water should not be considered preponderant and an essential good.

the river without water due to the drought.
International Tejo River (not seen in Lisbon)

When analyzing the O&M costs of operating photovoltaic plants, it is not possible for these costs to follow the rise in the values of m3 of water, consequently it is necessary to foresee mechanisms that reduce the number of washings of the photovoltaic panels, maintaining high performance levels of the parks.

When we analyze the Solarud and its purpose of operation, which has the main function of draining the accumulated water (rain or condensation) on the solar panels, and it will not allow the accumulation of that dirt in the photovoltaic modules. Indeed, it is possible to reduce washing cycles, consequently reducing O&M costs, with greater profitability while the m3 of water becomes a scarce commodity.

This piece presents itself as an accessory that brings financial benefits, and it is environmentally friendly, since it reduces the number of washings of solar panels, reduces the consumption of washing water and consequently increase the water efficiency of the process.

In conclusion, it is expected that, for example in the Iberian Peninsula, this environmental crisis, of extreme phenomena and drought, will become an economic crisis, insofar as the cost structure of production and maintenance of different assets does not has a way of predicting the exponential rise in m3 of water costs, similar to what is currently happening with electricity and natural gas.

All the best,

Solarud Team.

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