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Filename SAND2013_5238.pdf
filesize 3.25 MB
Version 1
date July 2013
Downloaded 2059 times
Category Balance of Systems/Soft Costs, ECIS, Energy Security, Photovoltaic, Renewable Energy, Technical Paper
Tags sand2013-5238
year 2013
author Geoffrey T. Klise, Vincent C. Tidwell, Marissa D. Reno, Barbara D. Moreland, Katie M. Zemlick, Jordan Macknick
report-id SAND2013-5238

As large utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities are currently being built and planned for locations in the U.S. with the greatest solar resource potential, an understanding of water use for construction and operations is needed as siting tends to target locations with low natural rainfall and where most existing freshwater is already appropriated. Using methods outlined by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to determine water used in designated solar energy zones (SEZs) for construction and operations & maintenance, an estimate of water used over the lifetime at the solar power plant is determined and applied to each watershed in six Southwestern states. Results indicate that that PV systems overall use little water, though construction usage is high compared to O&M water use over the lifetime of the facility. Also noted is a transition being made from wet cooled to dry cooled CSP facilities that will significantly reduce operational water use at these facilities. Using these water use factors, estimates of future water demand for current and planned solar development was made. In efforts to determine where water could be a limiting factor in solar energy development, water availability, cost, and projected future competing demands were mapped for the six Southwestern states. Ten watersheds, 9 in California, and one in New Mexico were identified as being of particular concern because of limited water availability.