SolarCoin, based on Bitcoin technology, promises to be the new â€œcryptocurrencyâ€ that might encourage more people to switchover to renewable energy. SolarCoins can be earned as a reward for generating solar power. The coins have no value at present, but if people start using this currency to support solar energy, SolarCoins would acquire value.
Introduced by the SolarCoin Foundation, this innovative endeavor is aiming to build value in the range of $20 to $30 per SolarCoin. This monetary reward would effectively provide solar panel owners with a crowdfunded feed-in tariff, and create incentive for many more people to shift to solar energy.
People with solar panels in their homes typically receive renewable energy certificates from their energy provider, which can be traded for cash. However, when a user hands over such an energy certificate to the SolarCoin Foundation, they will receive a coin. The foundation expects to start distributing its coins in a matter of weeks.
SolarCoin Foundation focused on promoting solar energy rather than other renewable technologies because of its affordability for the masses. For most people, investing in solar panels is easier than, say, in wind turbines. The grassroots nature of solar panel makes it a very promising mass source of renewable energy.
The foundation says that SolarCoin is 50 times more energy-efficient compared to Bitcoin, which has been criticized for wastage of computing power to mine coins. SolarCoinâ€™s algorithm allows the total number of coins to be mined much faster, before factoring in the energy saving achieved through solar panels usage.
If the idea of SolarCoin catches on, it could pave the way for similar models to be applied in global environmental projects in order to promote public participation. These could include projects such as conserving the rainforest or protecting endangered species. Jem Bendell of the University of Cumbria, UK, believes SolarCoin is an interesting idea. Its success or failure, of course, will depend on whether people actually purchase it.
Source:Â New Scientist
Image Credit:Â FlickrÂ via Joe Shlabotnik
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