Mining cryptocurrencies is a profitable business, but each product imposes some financial and environmental costs, which makes some NGOs, People, and entities against this business. But if crypto miners stop consuming fossil fuel-generated electricity and shift to using renewable energies, it will be financially and environmentally more beneficial for all.
Bitcoin mining with renewable energies, specifically clean solar energy, is one of the most discussed solutions. But can solar power be a reliable alternative to Bitcoin in the future?
What is Solar Mining?
Cryptocurrency mining is the main product of blockchain networks that use the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm. Computers or powerful mining devices do the process of generating new cryptocurrencies and confirming transactions in these networks.
The network’s difficulty is a factor that makes using advanced programmed devices such as ASIC miners necessary. PoW Crypto mining has always, during the short history of cryptocurrencies, been associated with energy consumption. As the network difficulty grows, the electricity consumption rate also rises.
For this reason, critics of Bitcoin and other currencies with proof-of-work algorithms have criticized them and considered them energy-consuming and harmful to the environment. The issue was that much bald, which convinced Elon Musk to declare that Tesl Company would not accept Bitcoin due to the tons of greenhouse gasses this industry pump into the atmosphere.
In this regard, many crypto activists have considered using renewable energy such as sunlight for mining, so mining will not have the previous harmful environmental disadvantages. Therefore, solar mining has been considered in recent months or even years.
Advantages of Solar Mining
1) Reducing the Cost of Electricity Bills
The most popular attraction of converting sun rays to electricity is its financial benefits because when someone goes off-grid, they will cut bill costs, which seems so favorable for crypto mining rig owners.
Rooftop solar PV panels will solve the issue of finding a place to install mining machines, at least for small-scale mining rigs, making it more affordable. In addition, solar panels in less developed countries in Asia or Africa can be a sustainable way to earn money.
These countries mostly have sunny days, guaranteeing that their mining units will work continually and that it will become even better if they add storage batteries. A wise investment in the renewable energy sectors in African countries or countries with more sunny days brings back considerable revenue for them; possibly, they can develop infrastructures faster and have no worries about future environmental impacts.
2) Environment Friendly
The energy generated by renewable energy sources, especially solar electricity, is clean and sustainable with no adverse environmental impacts. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energies, especially solar power, do not emit greenhouse gases into the air. It means solar panels are environmentally friendly and keep the planet a safe place for the next generations.
3) Low Maintenance Costs
Burning fossil fuels have a regular mechanism to generate electricity from the achieved heat from burning coal, gas, oil, and derivatives. The mechanism leads hot gases from the turbine combustion chamber directly toward blades and disks or does the same with the produced steam to run giant turbines.
Thousands of revolutions per minute (RPM), vibration, and rotation significantly increase the risk of spin burst, or even oval bearings, making it a very costly utility. Still, solar panels are installed and fixed, reducing the risk of rotation and minimizing the risk of necessary maintenance.
4) Creates Many Job Opportunities
It takes time to completely replace renewable energies with fossil fuels in the energy sector, potentially creating many opportunities for fresh laborers to join the fast-growing job market.
Disadvantages of solar Mining
Although solar energy is considered green and renewable, it also has significant problems. We must not forget that nothing is perfect, and any method or process we choose has some weaknesses. Below, we will discuss some of the disadvantages of solar mining.
1) High Start-up Cost
The initial cost of setting up solar panels is high, and it is not affordable for all at the moment. Of course, the speed of the advantages of the technology and governments committed to providing needed infrastructure and financial aid for industries to emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere seems soon everyone can enjoy the benefits of renewable energies and crypto miners.
2) Large Dimensions of Solar Panels
Although some solar panels have proportional dimensions, they need big pieces of land to set up. Therefore, the available surface of the ground in the exposure to the sun rays is also a significant factor in installing and setting up the panel.
3) PV Panels Work with the Sun Rays and Cloudy Days Reduce the Outcome
Received sun rays provide the heat for the silicon-made panels to convert this energy into electricity. Naturally, on cloudy days their performance reduces to a lower level. Therefore, there will be no adequate energy production without sun rays.
4) Low Energy Conversion Rate
Even the most advanced solar panels convert 20-25% of the sun’s energy into electricity. It shows that converting the released energy by our star would be adequate to support the full power of our planet in a few minutes, but we are far away from that point, but we hope the advantages will resolve this problem soon.
Blockchain is a decentralized network, and computers in this network must verify and record transactions in the blockchain as a data ledger. Processing these transactions requires lots of electricity. If it comes from the grid, it might cause severe problems to the grid and result in a general energy shortage for places where the energy supply is more crucial, such as hospitals and domestic consumption. Solar mining can increase the profitability of mining due to cut bill costs and making crypto mining more beneficial, and considerably reducing environmental impacts.