How Can Solar Panels Prevent Evaporation of Water

May 24, 2023

As global warming intensifies and water scarcity becomes a pressing issue worldwide, the need for innovative solutions is more urgent than ever. One emerging trend is the use of solar panels to prevent the evaporation of water. We will delve into the science behind this phenomenon, the implications for water conservation, and the potential benefits and challenges of this strategy. 

Floating solar farm

Floating solar farm.

What is Water Evaporation?

Water evaporation is a natural process in which water changes from a liquid state to a gaseous state, commonly known as water vapor. This process happens continuously, accounting for the circulation of water on earth – from bodies of water to the atmosphere and back again as precipitation. 

However, in certain contexts, such as man-made reservoirs and irrigation systems, excessive water evaporation can lead to significant water loss. This is particularly problematic in arid regions where water resources are already scarce. 

Solar Panels and Evaporation Prevention

Solar panels are primarily designed to convert sunlight into electricity. However, they also offer an unexpected benefit: they can help prevent water evaporation when installed over bodies of water. 

This works in two ways: 


By placing solar panels over a body of water, they act as a physical barrier between the water surface and the sun, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the water. As a result, less water is heated and evaporated. 

Lowering the Water Temperature

Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. By doing so, they take in a large portion of the heat that would have otherwise fallen directly on the water. This helps to keep the water temperature lower, further reducing the rate of evaporation. 

Applications of Solar Panels for Evaporation Prevention

The use of solar panels to prevent water evaporation is being explored in various contexts:


In regions suffering from drought or water scarcity, reservoirs are crucial for storing water. Covering these reservoirs with solar panels can help to reduce water loss from evaporation


In the aquaculture industry, where farming of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants takes place, maintaining water levels is vital. Solar panels can help preserve water while also supplying energy for operations. 

Irrigation Canals

Irrigation canals are another area where significant water loss can occur due to evaporation. Covering these canals with solar panels can conserve water and generate electricity for pumping and other irrigation activities. 

Benefits of Using Solar Panels to Prevent Water Evaporation

The use of solar panels for evaporation prevention offers several benefits: 

Water Conservation

The most obvious benefit is water conservation. By reducing the amount of water lost to evaporation, more water is available for human use, agriculture, and maintaining ecosystems. 

Renewable Energy Generation

The solar panels not only conserve water but also generate renewable electricity. This electricity can be used locally, reducing reliance on the grid and fossil fuels, or it can be sold back to the grid. 

Reducing Algae Blooms

Covering bodies of water with solar panels can also help to reduce the occurrence of harmful algal blooms. These blooms, which can be toxic to humans and wildlife, are often triggered by excess sunlight and warm water temperatures. 

Land Efficiency

Floating solar installations, also known as “floatovoltaics,” can be a great solution for places where land is scarce or expensive. They allow for the dual use of a single area, both as a water body and a power generating facility. 

Challenges and Considerations

While the benefits are significant, there are also challenges and considerations when using solar panels to prevent water evaporation:  

Installation and Maintenance

Installing solar panels over water can be more complex and costly than installing them on land. Maintenance can also be more challenging, as access to the panels may require boats or specialized equipment. 

Impact on Aquatic Life

Solar panels could potentially have an impact on aquatic life, particularly in terms of blocking sunlight, which is crucial for photosynthesis in aquatic plants and algae. This could disrupt aquatic ecosystems, although more research is needed to fully understand these impacts. 

Weather and Environmental Factors

Floating solar installations need to be designed to withstand wind, waves, and other weather and environmental factors. This can add complexity and cost to the installation. 

The Future of Solar Panels and Water Conservation

As the technology improves and costs continue to fall, it’s likely that the use of solar panels to prevent water evaporation will become more widespread. This could be a game-changer in regions suffering from water scarcity, and also contribute to the global transition towards renewable energy. 

Moreover, ongoing research and development are exploring ways to further enhance the benefits of this strategy. For example, some researchers are looking at designing solar panels that can also condense and collect water vapor, effectively generating fresh water while preventing evaporation. 

In conclusion, solar panels offer a promising solution to prevent water evaporation, helping to conserve precious water resources while also generating renewable energy. It’s a prime example of the kind of innovative, sustainable solutions that are needed to tackle the pressing environmental challenges of our time. Whether in reservoirs, aquaculture, or irrigation canals, solar panels are set to play a key role in the sustainable management of our water resources in the years to come. 



Solgen Power is a solar energy equipment company that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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