How SolarCoin is pushing solar energy

In January 2018 ACWA Power – Saudi operator of power generation and water desalination plants, has become the first large-scale utility EPC to adopt SolarCoin. They choose to use the cryptocurrency to reduce their cost and add value by adopting new technologies.
Till now, more than 3 million SolarCoins were granted in 54 countries. In three years it has become one of the major innovation in solar industry. By targeting a million installations, SolarCoin founders want to position their currency as a boost for photovoltaic development.


First of all, what is SolarCoin?

A quick reminder of what is SolarCoin is essential to understand how it can benefit to photovoltaic energy and why the Saudi leader of solar energy chose to adopt it.
Developed in 2014, SolarCoin is a currency based on the blockchain technology. It aims to be an incentive pushing the growth of photovoltaic energy on a global scale. It is based on a retribution of 1 SolarCoin granted to solar energy producers for each MWh of photovoltaic energy produced. Anyone owning an installation can join the blockchain. The goal is to encourage people still reluctant to photovoltaic to invest in an installation.

This new currency has been created with the objective to connect to the grid at least a million photovoltaic installations. Indeed the International Energy Agency (IEA) aims to total 5 500GW of photovoltaic installation by 15 years. To reach that amount François Sonnet, co-founder of SolarCoin, advocates that people will need a strong motivation – such as being rewarded for every MWh produced for example.

How using this blockchain currency benefits to solar energy producers?

Till this announcement, SolarCoin was mostly used by private and small-scale utility owners of photovoltaic installations.
However Acwa Power’s decision to use this cryptocurrency proves that the trend is extending to the whole photovoltaic energy market.
As explained on SolarCoin’s website, many countries have decreased helps for the development of solar energy. This currency appears as a new motivation to keep on promoting solar energy and installing photovoltaics power plants around the world.
For a developer, SolarCoin can be an additional income, especially since they are eligible for a special bonus reaching 10% of the sum.
Once they earn SolarCoins, developers can save them on an online wallet, change them for actual money – dollars, euros or other currencies, or even shop online from partners’ shops.

By providing tokens to photovoltaic energy producers, SolarCoin is extending the list of solutions making solar energy more competitive.
We could quote another very popular solution that is tracking systems. That technology makes solar modules follow the sun all day long to produce electricity continuously. By smoothing daily and seasonal distribution, trackers increase the performance of the power plant and by the way decrease LCOE.
SolarCoin and trackers both boost PV owners’ ROIs by making solar energy cheaper. Combined, they could be the lever that will definitively make solar energy more interesting than other energies – and particularly carbon ones.
That is apparently the bet Acwa Power chose to do by using both these technologies for the development of their solar power plants.

Which future for SolarCoin?

Currently 1SLR (SolarCoin) is worth around $1. François Sonnet is expecting the value to go up to around $35, increasing side by side with the number of solar power installations registered to the network.
Eventually, a maximum limit of 97.5 billion SolarCoins over the next 40 years has been set by the founders – based on solar power generation estimations from the IEA.