You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, the increasingly popular cryptocurrency created through data-crunching computer servers. However, you may not be familiar with SolarCoin, another type of cryptocurrency that is generated through solar energy production and can be registered through Smappee’s solar monitoring platform. While the concept of a cryptocurrency isn’t new, understanding its value and how SolarCoin is traded for cash can be somewhat complex. We’d like to offer the answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about SolarCoin, and how it can benefit both solar homeowners and solar installers.
What is a “cryptocurrency”?
A cryptocurrency is like any other currency such as the U.S. dollar, euro or British pound, but rather than a government printing paper bills, a cryptocurrency is created (or “mined”) digitally via computers—or in the case of SolarCoin, with solar energy production.
Just like paper notes, the value of mined coins rises and falls on international currency exchanges, but for SolarCoin, Bitcoin, and other digital currencies, the exchange is specifically created for digital currencies. Currently, SolarCoin is traded on 11 digital currency exchanges.
Like all cryptocurrencies, SolarCoin is based on blockchain encryption technology. That means that unlike a paper bill, a SolarCoin is generated and encrypted in such a way that it can be precisely tracked through all transactions. From the time that a SolarCoin is mined and through every future trade on the digital exchange, a SolarCoin remains unique and cannot be duplicated, eliminating the risk of forgeries or people trying to create fake SolarCoins.
How much is a SolarCoin worth?
Like all currencies, SolarCoin’s value can rise and fall by the millisecond. Its value will always depend on several factors, including supply and demand, trading volume, the paper currency equivalent, and other technical but verifiable factors.
While the current value of SolarCoin per megawatt-hour generated may not seem like a lot of money right now, its value in the future could be much greater.
How do I “mine” a SolarCoin?
A SolarCoin is mined for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy produced by a solar system. A typical Southern California 5.5 KW solar system produces around 8 MWh, so this sample system would mine 8 SolarCoins once a year. Obviously, the larger the solar system and the more sunlight available in the region, the faster that SolarCoins are generated for the owner.
Smappee is the only solar monitoring system available that can actualize SolarCoins mined by a solar energy system. Once a solar panel system is registered through the Smappee app, Smappee can record and transfer SolarCoins to a third-party virtual wallet, such as Coinbase.
The virtual wallet allows solar system owners to trade some or all of their earned SolarCoins on a digital currency exchange for dollars, euros or other traditional currencies, and then transfer the amount to a bank account. Alternatively, SolarCoin owners can save their mined SolarCoins until the value rises to a desired level on the exchange.
Smappee can not only actualize and register current SolarCoins mined, but it can also grant and register past solar generation going back for up to five years. Consequently, if a homeowner has been generating power via solar for several years but is now installing a new Smappee monitoring system, Smappee audits past production and enables the system owner to be credited for their historical generation.
How can Smappee’s SolarCoin features benefit solar installers?
We’ve seen how Smappee’s SolarCoin verification and registration feature can benefit solar owners, but Smappee’s ability to register SolarCoins can also help installers to grow their business in several ways:
- Smappee gives installers an edge over local and national competitors that have no simple method for registering SolarCoins.
- Since Smappee can be installed with up-and-running installations, solar installers can re-engage with past customers who elected not to get solar monitoring or a smart home energy management system at the time of installation, creating a new source of revenue for installers and new incentives via SolarCoins for customers.
- Smappee’s smart-home and SolarCoin features allow solar installers to future-proof their businesses for the new age of solar smart homes. Beyond offering customers a gateway to access SolarCoins and potentially shortening payback periods, Smappee provides valuable insights into energy production and consumption, empowering system owners to make informed decisions on their energy use and enhance their ability to save and automate.