Is a Solar Powered Mining Rig The Wave Of The Future?

in #cryptocurrency3 years ago (edited)

With Bitcoin and other virtual coins reaching all time highs, the general public has been getting more and more interested in mining.

In general, however, it is a very costly endeavor. 

First you have to pay for the mining rig, then you have mining pool fees, and then you have to pay for the massive amounts of electricity you use each month. 

In most cases people can make very little from running Bitcoin mining rigs unless they live in a place where electricity is very cheap or they only do it when the price of Bitcoin is very high. Like it is now.

Apart from the upfront cost for the equipment, the monthly utility bill is the biggest drain on mining profits...

What if we could find a way to take the monthly electricity expense out of the equation?

That is precisely what solar powered mining rigs aim to do.

So far, mining operations that use solar panels are finding that it is a good investment. Sort of. There is a large upfront cost but once that is paid for, the cost of mining is "virtually" free. (as you know nothing in life is free and there are still mining pool fees)

Either way, in most cases the biggest hurdle to mining profitably is the large electricity bill each month. This method hopes to navigate around it.

I recently read about a miner out in the desert doing this profitably. 

The desert miner's operation has been running for almost a year and currently uses 25 computing rigs. Each rig cost about $8,000 to set up.

More about him specifically can be read here:

https://themerkle.com/will-mining-cryptocurrency-in-the-desert-using-solar-power-make-you-rich/

His start up costs might be more than most can stomach, but perhaps they can be emulated on a smaller scale? 

That costs mentioned include the solar panels, power controls, batteries, and the Antminer S9 ASIC processor.

Doing some quick calculations we can see that he spent $8000 x 25 rigs(there wasn't any mention of mining pool fees in the article) for a total of $200,000.

Quite a large chunk of change. 

How profitable is it?

According to the miner, each rig brings in roughly $18 per day, varying slightly depending on the price of Bitcoin each day. 

Again, doing some quick calculations we can see that $18 x 25 = $450 dollars per day. With 365 days in a year we can see that $450 x 365 = $164,250 per year in income.

Therefore the miner can expect to pay for his entire investment in roughly 1 and a quarter years, or about 15 months. Not ideal but it appears our miner is playing the long game here. Everything earned after break even is mostly profits with this method.   

However there are some major caveats...

  • He has mining pool fees that are not mentioned here.
  • He has to keep the equipment cool somehow, likely housing them in some form of shelter while also keeping them cool.
  • The price of Bitcoin needs to remain high. Likely over that $2000 number. The lower it drops the longer it will take for him to break even on his investment.

Given all of this, the desert miner has major plans for expansion.

The desert miner claims that he is thinking of adding roughly 1000 more solar powered mining rigs because of how successful he views it has been on a smaller scale. 

He stated that he needs Bitcoin to stay above $2,000 per coin to remain profitable, however, if all the costs are upfront I am not sure what he means by that...

It looks like no matter what it could be profitable, it just will take more and more time to reach profitability depending on how low Bitcoin were to fall.

Conversely it would happen much faster if Bitcoin were to rise in price. 

Also failed to be mentioned by the miner in the article, but there is the worry that the computer equipment could get too hot out there in the desert. 

So, while the solar panels will do fine in the heat, some of the other equipment not so much. Perhaps some of that power being generated will have to be used to power a fan to cool some of the equipment?

Either way it sounds like a very interesting idea and one I am looking into further living out here in the desert myself.

Stay informed my friends!

Sources:

https://themerkle.com/this-solar-mill-powers-a-small-bitcoin-mining-operation/

http://www.investopedia.com/news/solarpowered-cryptocurrency-mining-next-big-thing/

Image Sources:

https://blog.cex.io/cryptonews/solar-bitcoin-mining-1841

https://themerkle.com/this-solar-mill-powers-a-small-bitcoin-mining-operation/

https://themerkle.com/will-mining-cryptocurrency-in-the-desert-using-solar-power-make-you-rich/

Follow me: @jrcornel

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Only read the title and here is your answer,,, No, Electricity is electricity, producing electricity using solar panel is nearly the most expensive kind you can get. Since mining can be done anywhere where cheaper source of electricity is available this will NEVER be profitable.

imho, never say never when speaking of technology

Your information is a little out of date - solar is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation.

The link quotes a Bloomberg analyst:

"After the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidized wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world - sometimes by a factor of two"

What about cloudy days? What about multiple days without significant sunlight?

I am assuming the power would be stored on a battery for such occasions, like other solar set ups.

Solar powered mining could only get profitable when photovoltaic cells drop drastically in price. This will eventually happen when more people invest in solar energy which improves the competition of technological advances.

The cost per watt for panels has come down significantly and will continue to do so. Panels are relatively cheap but what is expensive is the "balance of system" electrical equip.(inverters/batteries/charge controllers, etc.) and installation labor.

I would imagine that he has a deep hole in the dessert where he stores his mining gear to minimize cooling costs? Kind of a geo-thermal thing if you will?

#payitforward

Additionally, the desert nights are known to be very cold, which could offset the heating costs due to the natural low temperature of the surrounding air. That said though, the obvious factor that the solar arrays would not be being powered during the night would necessitate large batteries in order to keep the energy stored for night time mining. Possibly the set-up would be arranged to work at reduced capacity during the day, so the systems would not overheat and the batteries could be charged, and run a full power at night, using the natural coldness of the desert to keep temperatures low and running off of battery power. This would mean unequal performance throughout the day, but it would most likely be necessary to work in the desert environment.

Haha that is funny! Poor Granny....

If he is using Antminers, I also question the resale value of these
once they are no longer profitable. Probably zero I'm betting.
Is he mining Ethereum and what happens when it moves to POS ?
Will he have to move to mining less profitable coins ?
I like the green aspect but for the time being, very risky.

I enjoyed the read, gave me an idea on how much a small mining operation really cost.

I think this is a great crypto currency investment post. As people are looking more and more toward sustainable businesses it's a good idea to look into crypto, which uses solar power to offset electricity usage. It's also a good idea to look at the complexity of the crypto's algorithm. The more complex, the more energy warranted to carry out the transactions completed on the block chain. My post THE CRYPTO KEEPER: MINE YO DAMN CRYPTO provides some info on electricity and mining. Once again, great post.

well now that was interesting

The guy I buy my bitcoins from locally is going to do this. He's like the only guy in Wisconsin that has a listing on localbitcoins.com. He sounded pretty excited about it.

That is awesome. Let me know how it goes, I am interested in this myself.

Mining is very interesting, i wonder if i can mine in my house, that would be great,
But i dont have enough money to put up a miner,

Alternative energy would be awesome for mining if the price on the market is right. This just gave me an awesome idea. :) I will blog it after a research.

Link it to me. I'd like to read it. :)

I looked into getting a solar panel, but they are expensive and the mining computer still takes wear and tear.

Cool stuff. Be nice to get everything on solar!

Hmm, this is where it has to head. The necessity for a cheap energy grid of your own making is essential in the long run for a coin generation company. You can just change out the old hardware as it becomes unprofitable but keep the renewable power the same!

In my opinion the computer technologies have moved much further than the technologies of alternative energy because it is profitable and a greater focus is placed on the first technology. Although the second is no less important as we can see. Thanks for sharing. Interesting information

Thanks for the article! This sounds like a really interesting idea, but I wonder how sustainable the equipment will be in the desert running at full power? How much is the desert temperature going to cut down on the lifecycles of those ASIC chips?

Exactly. He seems to have found a way to do it for a year so far. The article didn't get into much of the specifics but I think he has some small cooling room nearby.

I'm still waiting the bitcoin mining toaster! XD upvoted!

I believe in Texas there is a company providing solar power for ~$0.09/ KWH. But where I live the $0.027/KWH rate is much more appealing. I think the answer lies up the staircase, in POS. POS has been implimented and has proven to function. Take a look at PIVX.

i think solar power is quite vital in mining, but can't be said to be a determinant for the future.thanks

Solar mining is sexy on the surface in my humble opinion. The issue is where you have the best sun production you have the biggest cooling problem and even by using Peltier cooling technology vs. traditional AC the math can still be a problem. I tried underclocking(choking several Peltiers on amperage) to get better results on power draw but it still ended up making a poorly solar run system on an Antminer S3 a couple of years ago. For the time being my thoughts are better to setup a solar location with a balance of sun production and maximum amount of cost per kw achievable when selling all of it to a power company. Then use those funds to simply buy bitcoin.

Now there are some interesting thoughts! :)

This works great if the price of bitcoin stays high.

Yep. If the price tanks, not so much. Although if all the cost is upfront... it might be a good way to build up a sizable chunk of Bitcoins over time...

Looks like the future, not sure why we don't see more about solar powered setups, that seems to be changing though. What about the consideration of space, or land to house this type of operation.

Even if it were scaled down, the land, zoning, area and space physically needed (whether this would work in the backyard or on some patch of vacant land) and security will all come into play and will 'cost' as well to regulate on a day to day basis.

Being in the desert myself, I love how this all sounds and could theoretically work!

@jrcornel- A very interesting idea indeed. However, as you correctly pointed out, the initial investment is quite high and the factors like downward movement in bitcoin price, pool mining fees and maintenance fees etc are the significant variables. Though the idea is Logical, we have to wait and see how practical it turns out to be.. Thanks for this heads up on the possibility. Upvoted.

Upvoted.

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This is interesting information, thank you!

Now the bills for electricity are huge

Talk about taking a chance doing that in the desert. i guess without risk there is no reward.

nice post upvoted

Thanks for the recap! I have been considering GPU mining with Solar on Coins that it works with. I do believe that BTC will be better off the more mining operations that get into it. The large miners and pools are mucking it up. Out the decision making power into a larger number of people

awesome idea, but one problem... proof of stake. PoS is the wave of the future. I'm sure mining will exist in some form or fashion but I wouldn't expect it to grow, probably just live out the remaining lives of the money invested in rigs right now, and slowly phase out.

Great post dude, thanks for pulling together the info

Before starting here on the platform about two years ago with a group of people we were interested in making our own criptomoneda, the idea was to create an integral platform, walle, pool to mine, etc. Our currency would be called Nitrocoin, a group of people were in charge of making the initial budget and were abysmal, the equipment and the cost of light added up the great majority of the budget. Even so we raised our proposals to three platform as undeliverable works of this nature, but we were not lucky.
Excellent post dear friend @jrcornel, thank you very much for the information, I must admit that I had no knowledge of this place.
Have a great start to the week

Thanks for posting this. This gives me a something else to look into while researching mining.

Solar powered miners, cool!

In the (Reddit) original he calls for "6 kw of solar panels" he must be using some of the power for cooling I would think, in the desert.

Those were my thoughts as well...

thanks for keep us updated! Interesting perspectives going around. It's really good that we are trying to lessen wasteful expenses, solar might just do the trick. A partial reason for eth fork was that VB didn't want eth to be waste a million just mining for ethereum.

Good article!! Keep them coming!

I need to read a lot about the mining pool. I'm very interested in it.

I remember reading this on the merkles website.. I thought it was an interesting idea too, but there are some caveats... I was looking into GPU mining since my buddy wanted to build a rig and he has solar panels in his house so electricity isn't a huge factor. Any suggestions?

I wish I had some. I am just starting to look into it myself. My suggestion... start googling :)

Sounds like some advice right there @jrcornel! If you ever get around to finding something good let me know!

Good. I approve of Chuck Norris approving. :)

Very interesting

Congratulations!

interesting. If bitcoin price stays high it will be totally worth it. but if it drops to the bottom, wondering what momentum will be it? at the end of the date, it's all about return rate.

Yes. If Bitcoin goes to $3k plus the returns would be quite good... although the higher the price probably the more miners there will be as well... which would also hurt profits.

let alone the fact that renewable energy bears higher cost (maintenance, first set-up price), but also the stability. solar, wind are intermittent energy that might cause fatal loss if the whole mining farm just shut down for a few hours or even days (if the network is located at desert)

Have any of you ever thought about using the excess heat miners produce to warm household water? I think this would be pretty easy and cheap to set up.

Just saying, the real green way of mining is the 'Burst' way.
I think all other coin should adopt this technique. Using CPU or GPU + solar panel is non-sense. It's better to use low consumption tech (see burst) + solar panels.

Solar powered mining rigs would be awesome but it does sound like a very big upfront cost and not as efficient.

i like his idea of simply removing cost from the equation...but why not just bootstrap the whole thing and remove the risk. like im doing with my raspberry pi rig!

Don't forget the little variable of mining difficulty. If the diff doubles his profit will half. Was that calculated in on the 1,25 years return?

Good question. He is willing to put about $800k into his little idea here, so hopefully for his sake he has run all the possible numbers. :)

Infinite source of energy, interesting

That is one crafty miner. I wonder if part of that solar power is being used to help cool his equipment? That or is any of this gear under ground where its cooler? Anyhow, it's still creative.

I read something about a green house or some kind of cooling room, but I'd have to double check.

Great article jrcornel, thinking about solar panels down here in Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula) its a great place almost 300 sunny days a year! not to mention eolic energy (wind is a constant here near the sea (30 Kilometers)).

I've been working in solar public policy in NYC for a while, and solar is absolutely the future not just for cryptomining but for the grid as a whole. It is already at price parity with fossil fuel based technologies in most states: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rooftop-solar-cost-competitive-with-the-grid-in-much-of-the-u-s/. There is a company doing customized installations for miners using only renewables - solar4mining.com, and once you start adding energy storage into the equation, mining gets much more profitable.

We have the domain www.solarbitmining.com open for offers. Great investment for clean green bitcoin mining.

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