SolarCoin presents us with a unique opportunity. While it is not a direct representation of solar MWh produced, and isn't the same as an SREC, I believe it is still useful as a tool for offsetting carbon based energy sources.
The coin's mission is to incentivize solar installation through a currency mechanism in a decentralized way. Solar power producers, whether large scale or rooftop generators, can claim it and be rewarded 1 SLR coin for every 1 MWh of solar energy produced. Practically anyone in the world can participate.
The currency is controlled through a blockchain that records and tracks each transaction and the amount of coins circulating, among other things, and is looked after by the SolarCoin community and the SolarCoin Foundation.
Because of its global reach to large and small scale producers, supporting the coin by owning it is a great way to support others in joining in the solar production ranks.
By owning and transacting in the coin, you are supporting its price and the expansion of its reach. As the perceived value of the coin goes up, the more it will incentivize solar growth. And while you're holding it in your SolarCoin wallet, you can earn interest, furthering the incentive to hold it and support the coin.
How and when am I buying the coin?
We all use a lot of energy. Even with my solar panels (which are registered to generate SolarCoins!), I have to buy energy from the grid. We use cars that burn gasoline, or charge our EVs on grid tied chargers that may have non-renewable based energy. We heat our homes with natural gas. We use natural gas, propane, charcoal, wood, etc., for fires and cooking. We eat out or get our food from sources that may not be using renewable energy. We use lawnmowers and other lanscaping tools that burn different types of energy. We use water which takes energy to distribute to our homes through vast networks of pipes and filtration systems. We buy all kinds of products that require all kinds of energy inputs to create and ship around the world to end up in our possession. And the list goes on.
These vast sums of energy don't necessarily get accounted for in our electric bill alone.
So what I do is try to estimate how much energy it takes to sustain that lifestyle (there are online calculators and sources of info online that will give you a ballpark figure based on your usage within the categories listed above). It's not easy to estimate accurately, but a rough estimate is better than nothing.
Once I have the estimate, and it's converted into a MWh equivalent of energy figure, I then know how many SolarCoins I need to buy to incentivize cleaner energy to be produced in the future to support my lifestyle.
Anyone can do the same, and I encourage anyone to research the coin and determine whether or not it is useful to own as a way to offset carbon based energy usage and join with the growing SolarCoin community in supporting a distributed, decentralized, renewable energy future. Who knows, owning SolarCoin today may just help you own your own solar panels tomorrow, further fulfilling the coin's mission.
SLR can be purchased on Bittrex, Lykke, and a few other exchanges (hopefully more soon). Share your comments and thoughts on this below!
All opinions are my own. I am not a financial advisor and this cannot be taken as financial advice. Owning anything, including cryptocurrency like SolarCoin carries inherent risks including total loss which I cannot be held responsible for. Perform your own due diligence and research. Buy at your own risk.