As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin gain popularity, societies become more aware of their massive environmental impact. The Bitcoin network now consumes more energy than many countries and emits more than 23 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. Crypto evangelists such as Elon Musk have promised that currencies such as Bitcoin will not be promoted until they are green.
This transformation is taking place, albeit slowly. Companies all over the world are developing new methods for mining cryptocurrencies in a sustainable manner. However, one technology for sustainable mining is frequently overlooked. It makes use of existing infrastructure, perfectly fits the distributed ideal of cryptocurrencies, promises to quickly green crypt – and may spend a lot of money on ordinary people. Rooftop Solar is the technology.
Since 2019, more than 2 million American homes and businesses have installed solar panels on their rooftops, according to the SEIA trade association. These panels generate green, carbon-free energy, but their output is variable: they stop producing power when the sun sets at night or when clouds form. As a result, many solar users benefit from a process known as net metering. They draw energy from the traditional electric grid at night or when it is cloudy, and their electric metres advance.
When it’s sunny, your solar panels send excess power back into the grid, causing your metre to run. You only pay for the “net” amount of power consumed at the end of the month. For example, if 1,000 kWh were generated and 1,100 kWh were consumed in a month, they would only be obligated to pay for 100 kWh of net consumption. Net metering enables solar customers to power their homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week without incurring bulk or battery costs—the grid, in fact, acts as a massive battery, supplying their needs even if their panels are not manufactured.
The Net Metering
However, there are several issues with net metering. Utilities frequently attempt to phase it out or limit its use. They also charge exorbitant rates for any excess power generated by a user, in addition to what they need to run their own home or business. When you generate enough power from your solar panels, my Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) utilities will allow you to spin your metre back to zero. Given California’s high energy prices, solar users earn $0.15 or more per kWh.
However, if you spin your meter below zero, the economy changes quickly. PGE only pays consumers 2 to 4 cents per kWh for “excess” energy. After their own power requirements are met, they return energy to the grid. As a result, most industry sources advise home and business owners to install only the number of panels required to meet their property’s actual electric needs. More power won’t help because you’ll have to return it at a loss to your utility.