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Solar Desalination gets A Boost From New Technologies to Solve the World’s Water Problem

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Solar energy because of its versatile and modular nature can be used in a wide variety of applications, unlike other energy sources that can mostly be used in large centralized power stations and transmit power through a transmission and distribution network. Solar energy is already being used by millions of peoples in the off-grid mode for lighting, heating, cooling, and other purposes. With solar prices falling drastically over 80% in the last decade, more and more applications where solar is being used as a power source.

Solar energy in lighting can be found in solar street lighting where it has become quite popular even with the presence of a grid. Solar lanterns are also quite popular in energy and income poor regions such as Asia and Africa where it can replace fossil fuel-based sources. Solar energy is also starting to be extensively used in agriculture with the usage of solar pumps and small grid-connected plants directly connected to rural substations. Solar energy through CSP solutions also is starting to get some traction in heating and cooling purposes.

solar water pump

Despite the many advances that have been made by solar energy in different types of applications, the direct usage of solar energy in the water sector has not really made much progress. Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues facing mankind today with high rates of groundwater depletion being seen in many countries. High population growth and climate change-induced stresses have led to water becoming a big problem in many countries today. Desalination of seawater is one of the most energy-intensive processes and the usage of solar energy to directly achieve desalination can go a long way in solving the water crisis affecting many regions in the world.

Desalination technology has mostly used electric power and reverse osmosis to achieve its objective. However, the high costs of power and the membrane usage have not really allowed this technology to mature and scale. Now with the rapid advances being made in solar energy, novel solar technologies are being used to solve the water problem. A new “Solar Dome” technology that has been developed in the UK will be used to power a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia’s futuristic “NEOM” city. This Solar Dome will use the concentrating solar thermal technology to be reheated, evaporated, and precipitated as freshwater. This new solar technology is supposed to have a cost that is substantially lower than the traditional desalination process which is currently in vogue. If this technology matures and can achieve the cost objectives it has set out, then it could a long way in solving the issue of water.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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