Blockchain technology and solar energy are both cutting-edge emerging technologies and industries. Both have the ability to deliver incredible innovations, alongside optimisations of existing processes. There have been extensive discussions among businesses and society surrounding these two sectors separately—but there has been little discussion about the potential of them working together.
Making the switch to solar energy is growing rapidly and it’s having an impact on the American environment and economy.
- At the end of 2018, the U.S. had 64.2 GW of installed solar–enough to power 12.3 million American homes.
- Solar energy accounts for 1.6% of total U.S. electricity generation.
- The US. installed 10.6 GW of solar in 2018 alone.
- Solar has ranked either first or second in capacity added to the U.S. electric total every year since 2013.
- There are over 1.47 million solar panels in use across the contiguous 48 states, according to satellite machine learning from researchers at Stanford.
- American solar power offsets over 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, which is like planting almost 1.2 billion trees.
- America has over 242,000 solar workers – more than the coal, oil, and natural gas industries combined!
- The sun produces enough energy every second to cover earth’s needs for 500,000 years.
- Based on average solar production across the U.S., it would take about 21,250 square miles of solar panels to meet the country’s electric needs. That’s about 0.5% of American land, and about half of the 40,223 square miles leased by oil and gas.
- 89% of Americans support more solar farms.
With that being said, blockchain technology and solar energy provide a mutualistic relationship; for the distributed energy resources to work with the grid and local distributed system, blockchain has the potential to be the key enabler of that energy network. The traditional energy grid is still centralized, and it remains subservient to it. This old system is fundamentally flawed for the challenges of this new era in renewable, solar energy.
The decentralized nature of blockchain could provide a particularly useful answer to the existing problems we see within energy networks around the world. The decentralization of energy systems would democratize information and allow individuals to make better-informed decisions. As a tool, blockchain smart grids could help to reduce inequality and provide cheaper, cleaner energy to areas with developed electricity grids and areas lacking energy access.
Blockchain could be one of the many solutions to long term reduction of carbon emissions and help promote sustainable development across the globe. A smarter electricity grid that could give consumers transparent energy choices could push for more integration of clean energy. Cost effective forms of energy, such as renewables, are set to be the market’s favorite choice and could help propel clean energy as a mainstream option.
Due to the reality that the climate crisis is getting worse—in recent weeks and months we’ve seen substantial bush-fires burning on opposite hemispheres with huge parts of Australia and California/Oregon ablaze and witnessing one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record—today’s 25-year timeline will be sped up substantially.
Ultimately the push towards greater solar adoption with blockchain is a matter of opportunity and necessity. The sooner this is realized, the sooner nations will be able to seize on such opportunities, and avoid the desperation of decisions made by necessity. I believe that the convergence of blockchain technology and solar energy can create numerous lucrative opportunities for companies focused on solving these energy and climate challenges and can help individuals access renewable energy.
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