Source Global, Local First Arizona ink deal to extract drinking water from air for rural communities

A Scottsdale-based company that makes technology to extract drinking water from the air has partnered with Local First Arizona to install 800 of its hydropanels in communities statewide.

Source Global and Local First Arizona received a $7.5 million state grant as part of the Arizona Drinking Water Program, which will give more than 3,400 people in remote communities access to clean drinking water at no cost.

The deal comes on the heels of Source Global scoring the biggest single capital raise among Arizona startups in 2022, worth $130 million.

Source Global’s hydropanels use solar energy to extract water vapor from the atmosphere and transform it into mineralized drinking water that can be stored until needed. The panels, which can extract water vapor even in low-humidity locations, range in size from small arrays to multipanel water farms that serve communities and businesses.

“We had the conversation with [Local First Arizona] and then figured out how we can work together and find funding for under-resourced communities,” said Colin Goddard, Source’s global vice president of business development. “We’ve got a great grant that’s enabling this project to reach places and that should now help educate those communities on this new capability and hopefully provide a catalyst to help more people get access to clean drinking water.”

The program includes water conservation educational outreach and workforce development as residents will have an opportunity to become certified Source hydropanel installers.

“Local First Arizona and Source share the belief that access to safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human right,” Jenna Rowell, Local First Arizona’s director of rural development, said in a statement. “Our goal with this program is to make a meaningful difference for thousands of Arizonans.”

Source launches residential hydropanels

Source Global, formerly known as Zero Mass Water, was founded in 2015 by Cody Friesen, an Arizona State University professor of materials science and engineering.

Last year, Source Global closed a $130 million series D equity financing round co-led by Kirkland, Washington-based Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Park City, Utah-based Drawdown Fund with participation from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, Fifth Wall and BlackRock Inc., among others.

The company’s funding raise marked the largest deal in Arizona in 2022, according to Business Journal research.

To date, Source has raised a total of $270 million, which it has used to scale its commercial and consumer renewable water technologies. Its solar panels have been installed in 50 countries, according to a company release.

“We’re super proud of the partners and investors who have joined the Source team and share the vision of providing drinking water in a new, renewable and nonextractive way,” Goddard said.

Earlier this month, Source launched its residential line of hydropanels, which are shipped direct to homeowners. The four-by-six foot panels weigh less than 300 pounds and produce an equivalent of 180 bottles of drinking water per month.

“With the launch of this new product that’s really designed for residential modification, it can really help make sure that every single Arizonan — no matter where they live — has access to clean drinking water,” Goddard said.

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