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Can You Mine Bitcoin With Solar Power?

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new Bitcoins are entered into circulation and transactions are confirmed by the network. Generally, miners are attracted by the rewards generated from solving complex challenges required to add blocks to the existing chain successfully. But the big questions remain - Is mining really as profitable as portrayed? What are the problems experienced in mining? How can mining become green and environmentally friendly? We will strive to answer these questions in today's article. Let's dive in.

Source: BBC

Why Do We Need Solar Energy?

Bitcoin energy consumption has increased tenfold in the past five years with over 91 terawatt-hours yearly, translating to about 0.5% of worldwide electricity consumption. This rate of energy usage is alarming, which has led to a movement for greener energy and less electricity consumption. 

The two major problems experienced in Bitcoin mining are:

  • Electricity Cost and Consumption

The energy required to mine a Bitcoin is an alarming amount between 86,000 to 286,000 KWh. Given an average of 5 cents per Kwh, miners spend roughly $35,000 minting a new Bitcoin.  The truth is, miners earn only when they successfully solve complex puzzles or by joining mining pools; the former requires huge electricity involvement, and miners end up spending a lot of money on electricity costs. 

With energy accounting for 90-95% of Bitcoin mining costs, questions on the profitability of Bitcoin mining are arising. 

  • Effects of Mining on the Environment:

Bitcoin mining has become a major contributor to climate change due to its electricity consumption. Releasing over 57 million tons of CO2 annually, Bitcoin mining pushes global warming by 2°C. Apart from the release of deadly gasses, Bitcoin mining degrades the environment by generating over 24 kilotons of e-waste yearly, which is hazardous to environmental health. 

With the double negative effects of regular electricity, the need for greener energy rose in Bitcoin mining. But is solar energy any better? Is it effective in Bitcoin mining? Let’s find out. 

Solar Energy VS Regular Electricity

POWER GENERATION COSTS IN 2019
Source: irena.org

Solar energy is considered an effective solution to the problems generated by regular electricity. It is believed to be a source of clean or green energy and has the potential to replace the regular energy when fully tapped into.

The advantages of solar energy over electricity fall into two categories:

  1. ADVANTAGES DUE TO COST

After its initial cost of purchase and installation, solar energy requires practically no added cost and doesn’t require maintenance. The number of panels required to yield the needed electricity is between 30-50 and costs about $35,000. This is roughly the same price required to mine a single Bitcoin and is definitely worth the investment. Knowing this, it is far less expensive to switch to Solar energy than pay exorbitant amounts yearly in achieving the same results. 

Some other advantages of solar energy over regular electricity in cost are: 

  • Mining comes at no cost for nearly 25 years after the initial payback period. 
  • Negative-priced power occurs in countries like the United States, Canada, etc, and can enable one to earn on excess electricity generated. 
  • The Federal solar tax credit allows a 30% reduction in installation costs. By reducing costs further, mining is made more profitable. 
  • Solar panels produce energy even in extreme weather as opposed to regular electricity, so mining activities are unaffected. 
  • Solar energy is an infinite result and will continue to reduce in price and increase in availability. 

2. ADVANTAGES DUE TO EFFECT IN NATURE 

The fight against climate change is global, leading to regulation changes and funding in favor of renewable energies. It is hoped that by converting to solar energy, the massive carbon emissions from mining activities can be offset. Already, Bitcoin miners get 56% of their total energy through renewable sources.

Some advantages of solar energy as opposed to regular electricity in nature are: 

  • It is pollution-free and increases air quality. 
  • It does not emit greenhouse gasses, thus helping combat climate change. 
  • It reduces dependence on fossil fuels. 
  • Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy does not require water resources, so it limits water pollution and does not affect the global water supply.  
  • In the extraction of fossil fuels for electricity generation, land pollution often occurs. Solar energy is superior and does not result in soil pollution. 

Apart from its advantages in cost and in combating climate change, solar energy improves public health, reduces health care costs as well as premature mortality. 

Factors To Consider In Using Solar Energy:

The mining of Bitcoin is an energy-intensive task and requires a ton of computing power. While the use of solar power reduces operating costs, some factors must be considered in transitioning to solar energy: 

  • Region:

This is an important factor to consider in the use of solar energy. It is a no-brainer that sunnier regions will produce more solar energy and are therefore more preferable. The amount of sunlight ( peak sun hours) an area gets determines the number of solar panels needed. This is crucial in setting up a renewable mining operation. 

  • Power required

This is another factor that determines the number of solar panels required. A basic mining rig requires a  minimum of 450-500 watts and that figure triples when using multiple GPUs. It is necessary to calculate the energy required to power the mining rig effectively. 

  • The number of Solar Panel Required: 

Determined by the region in consideration as well as electricity requirement, the amount of solar panels is a fundamental requirement. The amount of solar panels determines the cost of set-up, power generated, and the space required for installation. The formula to get the amount needed is illustrated below: 

Source: Climate Biz

This formula generated approximately 35 solar panels for California but a much larger 65 solar panels for England.

  • Mining equipment used: 

Bitcoin mining rigs compose of complex appliances with wattage ratings from 1200-3250. The mining equipment used determines the power requirements which influences the number of solar panels and ultimately the cost of the mining rig. This is another important figure that must be determined before transitioning to a solar-powered system.

  • Space

This is another necessity in setting up a renewable mining rig. To set up 30-40 typical solar panels, roof space between 528-704 square feet is needed. This is another necessary calculation and must be determined before the transition occurs. 

While the transition to green energy is often advised, it is very important to first consider the factors and determine the feasibility of such a movement. After consideration, the most suitable method for mining can then be determined. 

The importance of clean and renewable energy cannot be over-emphasized in the Bitcoin mining industry

As the industry progresses, a majority switch from fossil-generated electricity to renewable and sustainable energy is hoped for. 

Our mission at EZ Blockchain is to breach the gap between the energy sector and the blockchain ecosystem. We believe in the utilization of waste energy and that solving problems associated with gas flaring and stranded gas problems is a true win-win for both the energy and crypto industries. We also provide solar and wind crypto mining services as well. 

EZ Blockchain is an innovative company that understands the problem and its environmental implications and is driven to create a gas flaring mitigation solution. This solution is eco-friendly, economical, profitable for both producers and landowners while meeting environmental protection regulations.

We are on a quest to solve global waste energy problems with the help of crypto mining. We believe this is achievable through the strategic implementation of our innovative and revolutionary solutions.

 

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