SolarCoin: Accelerating the Energy Transition with Blockchain Technology
SMA and the SolarCoin Foundation have partnered to examine the possibilities of onboarding a large number of PV plant owners into the SolarCoin ecosystem via the world’s largest solar energy monitoring platform, SMA’s Sunny Portal. We have talked to Nick Gogerty, Co-Founder of SolarCoin, and Raimund Thiel, Senior System Development Engineer at SMA, about this exciting project.
Nick, what exactly is SolarCoin?
Nick Gogerty: SolarCoin, the first energy-referenced currency, is a reward that can be claimed by all producers of solar energy. It uses blockchain technology and is given out for free to the producers of energy at the rate of 1 SLR (SolarCoin) for every MWh of verified production of solar energy. In this way, each SolarCoin in circulation represents 1 MWh of solar electricity generation.
What gave you the idea of creating SolarCoin and what were your aims?
Nick Gogerty: I created a theory of value for currency and realized that currency is a positive economic externality. I decided to apply it to solar energy as it is easy to quantify. SolarCoin is an open community project run by volunteers working together as the SolarCoin Foundation. Our mission is to establish SolarCoin as an extra incentive for solar producers and thereby accelerate the global energy transition.
What are the benefits for the users?
Nick Gogerty: Currently, many countries have cut down on their subsidies for solar power. As a result, SolarCoin may represent a new and needed add-on or alternative for incentivizing solar facilities. SolarCoin can be traded for goods and services, bitcoins or euros or dollars.
Raimund Thiel: By joining the SolarCoin community, users are also contributing to the SolarCoin network, which will raise the value of SolarCoins and create more value for all people harvesting solar energy and claiming SolarCoins.
How is the value of SolarCoins generated?
Nick Gogerty: SolarCoin has traded freely on multiple exchanges for three years 24/7. Price is determined by people’s opinion of supply and demand. In terms of SolarCoin value, we have done deep research into currency and discovered that every node / user of a currency is worth $750-$4,000.
A lot of energy is necessary in order to create Bitcoins. Isn’t there the same problem with generating SolarCoins?
Nick Gogerty: SolarCoin uses a different algorithm to maintain its blockchain system. It is about 10,000 times more efficient. Our estimates are that Bitcoin will use $3-5 bn of resources this year, including energy, servers, etc. SolarCoin at similar scale, with 30-50 million users, would consume only $500,000 per year.
Why is the partnership with SMA so important for the further development/distribution of SolarCoin?
Nick Gogerty: SMA could substantially help to further distribute SolarCoin as more than 300,000 PV plants registered in the Sunny Portal could become instantly accessible to SolarCoin. That represents about 5% of all global solar energy production.
Raimund Thiel: SMA is a technology-driven company always looking for new opportunities and business models that we can make accessible to our customers. At SMA’s corporate technology department we started exploring blockchain technology early on. After assessing different cryptocurrencies, we came to the conclusion that SolarCoin was one of the most interesting projects in that space for SMA. The idea of having an additional incentive for solar energy production through blockchain technology seemed very appealing. So, why not enable SMA customers to get an extra reward for their produced PV energy by giving them easy access to SolarCoin and at the same time further enhance the attractiveness of Sunny Portal for plant owners and operators?
If SMA comes to the conclusion that it is feasible to implement SolarCoin into Sunny Portal, how will this work? What will the users have to do in order to benefit from SolarCoin?
Raimund Thiel: Claiming SolarCoins will be very easy for Sunny Portal users. After completing the plant information on Sunny Portal, they will only have to activate the SolarCoin feature by inserting their public wallet ID and setting a checkmark. Everything else will be handled automatically, and after some time the amount of SolarCoins earned will show up in the plant overview as an additional SolarCoin tile. We have just implemented this in one of our example PV systems in Sunny Portal. In future, the creation of the Solarcoin wallet might be handled by SunnyPortal also, so the users will not even have to create their own wallets.
What will happen next?
Nick Gogerty: The number of SolarCoin affiliates from all over the world is growing rapidly. We are targeting to have more than 10% of global solar energy production able to easily claim SolarCoin rewards within the next twelve months with 25% in 24 to 36 months. There is a lot going on around SolarCoin, so it is worthwhile to visit our Website .
Raimund Thiel: At SMA we already have some ideas of how to further pursue the project, for example by providing additional services to be paid with SolarCoins or offering other possibilities to make use of SolarCoins, but it will take some time to work these out. In any case, I’m very excited about what will come out of this interesting project.
Nick and Raimund will offer a session on SolarCoin at the Barcamp Renewables 2018 on October 18 and 19 in Kassel, Germany.
More information: Solarcoin.org
When wil be star working this my customuers will be more interested gived this added value.
We are in Colombia we are a Solar provider in all Colombian coast and we use only SMA.
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