“Hydropanels,” created by an Arizona-based company called SOURCE, are panels that are meant to create clean drinking water by pulling moisture out of the air. But do they actually work? One YouTuber decided to install two of these panels on the roof of his home in San Diego to test them out.
Ben Sullins (@BenSullinsOfficial) collected data on his SOURCE hydropanels for one year and turned that data into a comprehensive video report. The verdict is that the panels basically work as advertised — over the course of the year, the panels produced 2,539 liters of water (about 670 gallons), or around 5,000 bottles’ worth, according to Sullins.
Sullins then delved deeper into the math, figuring out that the panels, with a $6,000 upfront installation cost and $100 yearly maintenance costs, would cost $7,500 over 15 years. They would produce 38,000 liters (about 8,359 gallons) of water, coming out to roughly $0.20 per liter (or $0.90 per gallon) — about half the cost of bottled water from Costco, per the video.
He did have a few complaints, however, such as the fact that the panels are very loud and that the water they produced was often warm.
Ultimately, Sullins stopped short of recommending the panels to other consumers like him, but he said their broader implications for providing clean drinking water to people who most need it are very exciting.
“If you live in a suburban neighborhood like I do with a decent water supply and homes relatively packed close together, I don’t think it’s a good fit,” Sullins said, explaining that the hydropanels for him are more trouble than they are worth.
However, not everyone lives in an area with access to clean drinking water, and for them, hydropanels could be a life-saver — especially as temperatures continue to rise worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization, 2 billion people across the world are living in water-stressed countries, with that number expected to rise due to overheating and changing weather.
“I do agree that it is a good thing for places that have no alternative access to water. The math doesn’t matter as much if it is keeping people alive,” wrote one YouTube commenter.
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