GivePower Solar Desalinization Plant Brings Clean Water To Desperate People

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GivePower was created in 2013 by Lyndon Rive and Hayes Barnard as a non-profit instrumentality of SolarCity. Just prior to the merger of SolarCity and Tesla in 2016, it was spun off as a separate stand-alone organization whose mission is to bring solar power to areas of the world without access to electricity. According to Wikipedia, “As of 2018, GivePower had installed 2650 solar power installations in villages through seventeen different countries for institutions like primary schools and medical clinics. They have also developed solar installations in underdeveloped areas of the United States, including the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Once installations are completed, GivePower transfers the maintenance and running of them to local communities.”

GivePower solar desalinization plant
Image credit: GivePower

One of those communities was Kiunga, Kenya, a coastal town near the border with Somalia. But while the installation of a solar power system was underway, Hayes Barnard and his staff noticed the people had an even more pressing need than electricity. After 5 years of drought, they had no clean water to drink or bath in. The brackish water they were using was causing disease and other illnesses. So the GivePower team invented a solar powered desalinization plant that fits inside standard 20-foot shipping containers.

This solar powered water desalination and purification technology can be rapidly deployed in coastal regions around the world that suffer from a shortage of clean water. Thanks to built-in battery storage, it can operate 24 hours a day to transform up to 70,000 liters of brackish or salt water into clean, healthy drinking water daily. Not only does the system help reduce waterborne diseases, it has a transformative effect on the local economy, especially women, who often are forced to spend most of their waking hours carrying water from access points to their villages. UNICEF estimates women in Africa spend 200 million hours a day transporting water.

According to Water World, GivePower recently won top honors at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award ceremony in Dubai for its solar water farm technology. “We are honored and deeply grateful to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia) and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Moktoum for the recognition, support, and their tireless dedication to helping humanity overcome water scarcity,” said Hayes Barnard, founder and CEO of GivePower.

“Three of every ten people in the world face life-threatening water scarcity challenges as the global water crisis keeps growing at an alarming rate. The world’s innovators and leaders must unite to tackle this serious problem together. The people of the United Arab Emirates, under the visionary leadership of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Moktoum, understand this and remain determined with urgency to solve this problem.”

Learn more about Kiunga and the GivePower solar desalinization plant in the video below. And feel free to explore the GivePower website to find out about about The Trek, an organized tour conducted by GivePower that allows you to travel with its team to a remote village that lacks access to electricity and experience the powerful impact firsthand. And if by chance you are one of those people who supports charitable works, you might consider making a donation to GivePower so it can continue its important and lifesaving work.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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