Saudi Arabian energy company ACWA Power has started to use a blockchain currency.
ACWA is utilizing SolarCoin, a crypto-currency that is rewarded to generators of solar power. For every 1 MW of solar, the generator gets one SolarCoin. This means it can adopted by large utilities like ACWA or a homeowner with a few solar panels on their roof. The only conditions are that the beneficiary owns the solar installation and that it is connected to the grid.
The move makes ACWA the first utility-scale solar generator to adopt SolarCoin. The company’s 50 MW Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa and the 50 MW Karadzhalovo PV plant in Bulgaria are already generating SolarCoins.
Chief executive Paddy Padmanathan said: “We are always looking for ways to adopt new technologies to add value and reduce cost in all that we do. Blockchain technology in our view offers a yet untapped opportunity for the power generation sector.”
Speaking yesterday at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, he said: “It’s early days, but we are very excited about SolarCoin and we are trying to persuade others to join the bandwagon. We have started to use it and started to spend it.
Other companies already using SolarCoin are Solar Lux, clean energy firm Dubai Carbon and environmental consultants 5 Capitals.
SolarCoin was set up in 2014 as a reward to solar power producers but more specifically as an incentive to others to get involved in solar generation and drive it to mass adoption.
There is a finite number of SolarCoins – 97.5 billion – and they are only available for 40 years, because this is the period that the company believes will be needed to achieve their target of worldwide utilization.
Also speaking at the World Future Energy Summit was SolarCoin founder Nick Gogerty. He said: “Awarding coins to solar energy producers such as ACWA Power provides an incentive to continue to invest in solar capacity. We hope to see further adoption of SolarCoin in the region, with the aim of building a strong community and spurring a global market for renewable energy investment.”
Thomas Chrometzka, director of Solar Lux, which helps energy companies adopt SolarCoin, said: “SolarCoin is a currency with a purpose. That’s why it is a currency with a soul. You end up with money that represents your values, not your passport.”