Many islands face shortages of fresh water. Desalination using renewable energy can meet their water needs at reduced costs, this report finds.
Desalination methods such as reverse osmosis (RO) or multi-effect distillation (MED) can be combined with solar photovoltaic (PV) or concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. RO also works with wind power. While cost comparisons vary from island to island, all of these promising technologies pairings can be competitive against fossils fuels for desalination systems producing 250 cubic meters of potable water per day, a viable scale for many island communities.
Follow-up studies can help to define the most suitable renewable desalination options for specific islands.
IRENA produced the report using the expertise of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy ISE.