Concerns about the energy consumption associated with generating crypto have been raised for some time, but one miner says he has come up with a novel solution: solar energy.
Posting on Reddit, @candese said the spiraling cost of his electricity bill had prompted him to install solar panels on his roof to fuel his mining equipment during daytime hours. As a result, he claims that he has managed to slash costs by 75%, leaving more profit from the Bitcoin he mines.
Although many respondents to the post complimented the miner on his investment, others warned that it may not be a solution that’s suitable for everyone. One pointed out that the success of solar panels can depend on which direction a property is facing, not to mention the amount of sunlight it gets.
Several studies have scrutinized the environmental footprint of crypto mining over recent months.
Back in November, the Nature journal found that it takes more than three times as much energy to generate $1 worth of Bitcoin than it does $1 worth of gold. Worse still, with every passing year, the amount of energy required to generate Bitcoin is continually increasing.
Alex de Vries, who works at PwC as a Bitcoin specialist, sensationally estimated in July 2018 that the global annual power consumption devoted to mining this one cryptocurrency is equivalent to Ireland’s entire energy consumption. Meanwhile, Google’s entire global output was just over a quarter of this amount.
Unfortunately, even these numbers may be somewhere off the mark. Bitcoin’s decentralized nature – when combined with the fact that much crypto activity is performed anonymously – could mean that the true scale of the energy expended is significantly higher. It remains to be seen whether concerted efforts will be made by the crypto industry as a whole to offer eco-friendly ways to keep the market moving.
Of course, environmentally friendly approaches certainly offer incentives as the number of new Bitcoins available to mine continues to decrease, squeezing profit margins.