The Power of SolarCoin
The now familiar crypto currency, Bitcoin, is known around the world and used by over 10 million people. As one of the first of its kind it had a struggle first to gain market traction and is still not quite as popular as predicted at the time of its launch, yet it is a very fitting example of the success a digital currency alternative can have. Lesser known and newly invented (2014), SolarCoin is looking to replicate Bitcoin’s path but with a twist – solar energy.
SolarCoins are designed to encourage solar energy production through a rewards scheme similar to air miles. Any registered producer that is connected to the grid, be that a company or an individual user, can claim SolarCoins for free – one coin equalling a MWh of solar energy produced. The current system has ordinary consumers receive certificates for their energy provided which can then be exchanged for cash. With SolarCoin it would work much in the same way – presenting the certificate would instead earn the producers one SolarCoin. This coin would be exchangeable for money, the worth of which is evaluated to be between $20-30USD, to be determined once popularised.
The method takes the approach of a crowdfunded feed-in tariff, where the electricity is generated by the users themselves. A brilliant example of how well it can work is Germany. Introduced in 1990, it started out with less than 3% of total energy being produced by consumers themselves; in 2008, this figure had grown to 15%. A similar system has also been put in place in the UK, South Africa and Ontario, Canada to attempt to replicate this German success.
SolarCoin is thus not only supporting environmentally friendly energy consumption but also a model of sustainability where consumers work as their own producers. If all goes to plan, the digital currency system could also be applied to other areas with problematic implementation – rainforest conservation or endangered species, for example. SolarCoins have many positive sides and act as a trial for future projects of a similar nature.
Dashboard views the SolarCoins as an important step to creating a more sustainable future with green energy. Solar power has been searching for ways to be integrated easier and this new method might just be the solution. We hope to see SolarCoins gain value and recognition on a wider scale and would like to encourage the further development of the system.