- In the wake of Bitcoin’s stumbles, solar advocates recently launched SolarCoin. It is a decentralized, international digital currency that is traded person-to-person. Besides being a substitute for dollars, SolarCoin will provide capital to finance solar development, they say.
- Like other cryptocurrencies, SolarCoin is protected by a public ledger of every transaction. It is called a blockchain. By preventing anyone from spending a SolarCoin twice, the blockchain creates trust. A third party-verified meter allocates one SolarCoin to each megawatt-hour of solar generation. Based on the IEA’s prediction that there will be 98 billion megawatt-hours of electricity generated from solar over the next 40 years, the SolarCoin Foundation created that many SolarCoins.
- Owners of any producing solar energy system will get their share of the first 97.5 billion SolarCoins. The other 500 million go to those building the digital infrastructure. Trading on the increasing value of a solar energy-generated megawatt-hour is expected to drive demand for the electronic cash. SolarCoins can be claimed in an electronic wallet and redeemed with a verified proof of generation from the meter.
This could be one of those things that utilities should get in on, as part of that new business model everybody is talking about.
Note: SolarCoins go to the primary consumers of the electricity from rooftop solar arrays even if the system is leased or financed.
The idea came from Nick Gogerty, one of the academics who, in 2011, suggested using electricity to back national currencies because it holds its value better than gold or the other assets held by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank against the dollar.
But without gold as the standard of monetary value, what would Bill O’Reilly talk about? And will late night infomercials be left with only durable, stretchable hoses and miracle cleansers to pitch?