October 2, 2009

Solar power sucks water — now what?

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By definition, deserts get lots of sun and little water.

Solar power proponents have found a way to harness the abundance of light, but some of their technologies require too much of what deserts lack: water.

The New York Times’ Todd Woody reports that some desert communities in Nevada and other western states are fighting solar projects because they drain too much water.  As billions of dollars are spent on solar farms unfolding across the Southwest, what is the balance between making solar power economical and using the more expensive technologies that conserve scant moisture?  Will California politicians cave to the prospect of clean energy jobs and allow solar farms to tap drinking water, as proposed by a recent bill?

For more information on solar energy, visit the NYTimes’ excellent solar page.

— Kristen Young

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