Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power has become the first large-scale utility in the world to adopt the blockchain currency SolarCoin.
Two projects of 50 megawatts of capacity each owned by ACWA Power are currently minting SolarCoins. A 50 megawatt concentrated solar power project in South Africa and a 50 megawatt solar PV project in Bulgaria are currently generating SolarCoins.
ACWA Power gets one SolarCoin for the generation of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity. According to SolarCoin founder Nicholas Gogerty, “Awarding coins to solar energy producers such as ACWA Power provides an incentive to continue to invest in solar capacity. We hope to see further adoption of SolarCoin in the region, with the aim of building a strong community and spurring a global market for renewable energy investment.”
The cryptocurrency was established in 2014 with an intent to promote the adoption of solar power across the world. Since its launch in March 2014, its value has increased from around ¢0.01 to $1.32 on 20 January 2018. Its value had dropped to as low as one-hundredths of a US cent but recently touched an all-time high of $2.40. Its market capitalization stood at more than $51.5 million on 20 January 2018, with a high of over $92.8 million on 14 January 2018.
SolarCoin claims to have a much less energy-intensive production process compared to other cryptocurrencies. According to the SolarCoin Foundation, “SolarCoin uses an ultra-low carbon blockchain technology called proof of stake time to maintain the open source ledger system. The proof of stake algorithm is significantly less energy intensive than methods used by other cryptocurrencies (e.g. proof-of-work).”
SolarCoin Foundation organized a workshop at the World Future Energy Summit 2018 in Abu Dhabi recently. The Foundation issued a government policy paper that explained why and how the cryptocurrency can help adoption of solar power across the world through added incentive to generators.
In addition to ACWA Power, Solar Lux, Dubai Carbon, and 5 Capitals also use SolarCoin. Over 3.6 million SolarCoins have been issued to solar power projects in 54 countries. A total of 97.5 billion SolarCoins would be issued over a period of 40 years, translating into 97,500 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation.