SolarCoin is a cryptocurrency introduced in 2014 as a way to reward and incentivize the growth of solar energy production. It was started by a group of volunteers and is now managed by SolarCoin Foundation, an open community project with a growing global volunteer base.
SolarCoin enables solar energy producers (both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power) to earn SolarCoin credits by generating power. SolarCoins can be claimed for free by registering a solar installation on the platform and downloading a SolarCoin wallet. Upon submitting verified proof that they are generating solar electricity, they are rewarded one SolarCoin for every 1Mw/hour of energy produced.
The SolarCoin Foundation manages the allocation of SolarCoins to solar electricity generators and affiliate sites. It monitors, audits and verifies transactions and maintains a public ledger detailing each SolarCoin allocated to solar electricity generators.
SolarCoin: A Blockchain Currency
SolarCoin is based on the blockchain open distributed database, to ensure transparency and security. The blockchain can serve as a public ledger and document any type of records, including Bitcoin transactions.
SolarCoin is not an alternative to the popular BitCoin cryptocurrency, but complements it by being specifically allocated to only solar energy generators. Like SolarCoin, the BitCoin is also based on proof of work in order to earn coins. Bitcoins can be earned by anyone around the world taking part in the process of verifying each block of the blockchain; this process is called mining.
The value of Bitcoins and SolarCoins is based on network theory. As more and more people and organisations use the currencies and they are more widely exchanged, their value increases.
There are currently over 34 million SolarCoins in circulation, with this figure growing by about 5,040 per week. The SolarCoin currency trades non-stop on markets and SolarCoins can be can be used for transactions or payments between private parties and partners, or traded for Bitcoin and conventional worldwide currencies.
The SolarCoin Model
SolarCoin works similarly to consumer rewards programs, but coins are awarded for producing a valuable resource rather than consumption.
"SolarCoin is like airmiles for global solar electricity producers," Joesph Zitoli from the The Solar Coin Foundation explains.
SolarCoin rewards current producers for their contribution to global solar power generation. It also provides an additional incentive for potential solar producers to purchase solar panels and generate clean solar power.
SolarCoins are present in 24 countries around the world and so far about 240,000 SolarCoins have been granted. The distribution program is expected to last about 40 years and deliver 97.5 billion SolarCoins, representing 97,500 TerraWatt hours of solar electricity.
Want the ultimate low-down on renewable energy? Check out our Knowledge article here.