Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



National Renewable Energy Laboratory

First page number:


Last page number:



The photovoltaic (PV)-powered reverse-osmosis (RO) desalination system is considered one of the most promising technologies in producing fresh water from both brackish and sea water, especially for small systems located in remote areas. We analyze the economic viability of a small PV-operated RO system with a capacity of 5 m3/day used to desalinate brackish water of 4000 ppm total dissolve solids, which is proposed to be installed in a remote area of the Babylon governorate in the middle of Iraq; this area possesses excellent insolation throughout the year. Our analysis predicts very good economic and environmental benefits of using this system. The lowest cost of fresh water achieved from using this system is US $3.98/ m3, which is very reasonable compared with the water cost reported by small-sized desalination plants installed in rural areas in other parts of the world. Our analysis shows that using this small system will prevent the release annually of 8,170 kg of CO2, 20.2 kg of CO, 2.23 kg of CH, 1.52 kg of particulate matter, 16.41 kg of SO2, and 180 kg of NOx.


Building-integrated photovoltaic systems; Cost effectiveness; Economic analysis; Greenhouse gases reduction; Photovoltaic power generation; PV system; Remote area; Saline water conversion—Reverse osmosis process; Saline water conversion plants; Water desalination




Presented at World Renewable Energy Congress XI, September 25-30, 2010, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Search your library