Frequently asked questions about our Solar Water Farms
Frequently asked questions about our Solar Water Farms
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is widely regarded as one of the most effective and efficient methods of desalinating and purifying water . RO desalination is a process that uses a membrane to desalinate and purify seawater, brackish, contaminated, or undrinkable water sources by removing the dissolved salts and harmful content. The membranes used in desalination systems remove salt, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and cysts from the raw water, producing safe, healthy drinkable water.
Absolutely. RO is one of the most favored methods of purifying and desalinating contaminated water sources. It is frequently used as a treatment process prior to bottling water because it produces an extremely high quality of water for drinking.
Yes, we work with the top companies in the industry to design equipment that will pass the most stringent drinking water requirements. In countries where there are active standards in place, we work with the local water authorities to make sure that our water conforms to their standards. In regions where standards are not well regulated, we hold ourselves to World Health Organization standards on drinking water.
We partnered with the leading companies in the desalination, pump design, solar technology and battery storage industries to develop one of the most efficient desalination systems on the planet. By designing the solar array, battery bank and desalination system to operate 24/7 on renewable sources our systems are independent of local, frequently dirty, power generation systems. This design allows us to operate in communities that have no access to a main electrical grid or where the electrical grid is unreliable. Our systems operate at municipal scale efficiency but are built on a scale which provides access to smaller communities.
We design our systems using a beach or borehole well rather than what is called an “open intake”. Open intakes can inadvertently suck up marine animals and plant life and are more susceptible to damage from storms and human activity. By constructing a well the earth acts as a natural first stage filter providing cleaner, less turbid water to the desalination plant. This makes the equipment last longer but it also eliminates any potential harmful effects on local marine life, since no plant or animal life can find its way into the well.
By desalinating seawater we can provide dry coastal regions with a new potable water resource, rather than straining an already stressed natural resource like groundwater. Seawater desalination allows us to access the most abundant water resource on earth, the ocean, and turn it into an inexpensive, high-quality source of drinking water.
Yes, GivePower provides safe water solutions to regions that don’t have access to a potable water supply. This can include inland communities that have brackish or saline groundwater as well as well as dry coastal communities with access to seawater.
It depends on the proximity of the installation site to the ocean. When the site is on the coast, then we typically send the concentrate discharge back to the ocean. In these cases, we design a discharge pipeline that allows the concentrate discharge to slowly trickle back into the ocean across a greater distance than a simple open-ended pipe. has shown that by designing discharge pipes in this way, the concentrate discharge mixes with the ocean very quickly and virtually eliminates any measurable effect on the surrounding environment.
In sites where direct access to the ocean is not available, the concentrate discharge is typically returned to the ground through using an infiltration basin or injection well. These devices are located a suitable distance from the intake well so as to avoid contaminating the feed water with the discharge water. The design of our water treatment also minimizes the impact on underground aquifers by limiting the concentration of the discharge water and the use of chemicals common in other (RO) systems. In most cases the concentrate discharge contains nothing that was not already present in the raw feed water.
Concentrate discharge water isn’t harmful when it is handled properly. Because we typically do not add any chemicals to the water during the desalination process, the concentrate discharge is simply a more concentrated version of the same raw water source that we used at the start of the process.
Typical municipal installations will have a concentrate discharge that is 200% the concentration of the original feed water source, and a volume of up to 8,000 m3 per hour. Our Max systems are designed to only increase the concentration by 50%, and we discharge less than 6m3 per hour. This allows the original source to absorb and dilute the discharge water effectively leaving the source water virtually unchanged. By building small scale, distributed infrastructure desalination systems, our concentrate discharge can be expected to have almost no measurable negative environmental impact. In regions where it is feasible and/or required GivePower performs environmental impact studies annually to monitor the effects of our discharge pipelines on the local environment.
Our systems are designed specifically to operate without the need for chemical injection systems in the feed water or concentrate discharge pipes. This means that the water that is returned to the source during the process contains the same chemical and biological makeup as the source water. There are instances where the raw water is particularly challenging, and chemicals need to be introduced to protect the longevity of the system and ensure the community has access to the water. In these cases, great care is taken to make sure the products used will not harm the environment and are used as sparingly as possible.
This is an exciting time for technologies like ours. GivePower is one of the pioneers of solar powered seawater desalination. The rapid development of the tech industry, the near ubiquitous use of cell phones, cashless payment systems, a growing host of internet connected devices from inverters to flow meters, battery and energy storage advancements, more energy efficient pumps and motors, and the rapid development and investment in the water industry have only recently made a solution like ours possible.
The pace of implementation for the innovative technology of Solar Water Farm depends on the ease and flexibility of the enabling environment: local regulations, foreign direct investment restrictions, water consumption and collection habits, ambiguous land ownership and use rights, last mile distribution challenges, and the added complexity of public-private partnerships. Through GivePower’s current installations and experience in scaling up in Haiti and Kenya, we are eager to engage with interested countries to expand scale and speed up installation through strong partnership with government and communities.
Desalination systems require routine maintenance and upkeep to stay operational and providing the highest quality water possible. To address this, GivePower has created a business model that creates a revenue stream to keep the sites functioning at the highest level. Revenue collected from the sale of water covers system operations, maintenance, major repairs, and distribution costs. Our affordable pricing model is typically equal to or less than existing untreated water sources.
However, GivePower’s contribution to the community is much more than the technology deployed. By establishing a local presence in the countries where we operate and employing local teams to operate and maintain Solar Water Farms, we create permanent jobs and career development opportunities in technical, management, and operational fields. The public private partnership model is an effective way to ensure the community can be self-sufficient in providing access to clean water in a sustainable manner.