Economics of Open-Source Solar Photovoltaic Powered Cryptocurrency Mining
Keywords:Cryptocurrency Mining, Solar Photovoltaic, Economics, Open-Source, Sustainability, Energy
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology offers a promising means to alleviate environmental and electricity costs challenges for cryptocurrency miners. To analyze this promise, this study investigated the feasibility of using electricity from individually optimized PV systems to power: 1) an individual Bitcoin miner, 2) a DIY intermodal shipping container holding 50 miners, and 3) a commercial mining farm container holding 408 miners. In a controlled lab environment, miners were monitored for electricity use. Then using these values, numerical simulations of both the PV system yield and sensitivity ranges based on the Bitcoin price, Bitcoin halving events, and miner hardware were investigated for informed financial planning. In addition, sensitivity for geographic locations in North America, utility electric rates and PV capital costs were analyzed. The profitability and return on investment (ROI) varied by location primarily because of the geographic distribution of solar flux and utility rates. The ROI for using PV with Bitcoin mining was found to be negative for Toronto and Montreal because of low-cost electricity, while it was 8% for Calgary. In the U.S. cities evaluated, the ROIs were substantial and ranged from 34% in New York, to 64% in Boulder, and up to 104% in Los Angeles. Although the study is based in North America regarding energy rates, climate, and energy laws, the analysis methodology is generalizable globally and grants the average cryptocurrency business the knowledge to make an informed decision on whether to pursue this venture from a financial and environmental perspective. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in cryptocurrency mining by providing an economic means of environmental preservation by powering cryptocurrency miners with renewable solar energy.
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Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.