In the News

The Potential For Solar Powered Safe Water Stations Heats Up

Safe Water Network and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will co-host a panel evaluating the economics of solar power compared to grid power and what role solar may play to provide affordable, safe water in rural areas. Panelists will present case studies on the economic tradeoffs and the implementation challenges as well as discuss the opportunity to expand solar throughout the world where appropriate. 

The panel will be anchored by Safe Water Network’s Amanda Gimble, senior vice president of market development and Nat Paynter, vice president, strategic partnerships. Other panelists and a moderator will be announced shortly. 

Grid power poses significant challenges to the sustainability of community water treatment systems, impacting both its cost and reliability. In Africa, for example, electricity represents up to 20% of the expense to produce safe water. Grid power is also vulnerable to inflation and currency fluctuations. In some instances, the cost of electricity can almost double without warning. 

With the cost of solar panels coming down each year, it is time to explore their potential as a viable energy alternative. However, so far, there has been a lack of evidence in regards to whether the upfront capital cost offsets the subsequent reduction in lower energy expense. Greater reliability must also be factored into the equation. 

Safe Water Network’s SIWI Side Event 
Our program will draw upon case studies from several different countries and will examine solar’s impact on operating costs, capital, system maintenance and overall reliability.