Alternative currencies are a hot topic at the moment and a new entrant in the rapidly growing sector is SolarCoin; which rewards owners of solar power systems.
Like BitCoin, SolarCoin allows holders to use the currency to buy goods and services from merchants who accept it. Also like BitCoin, people can “mine” for SolarCoins using computer systems or buy through an exchange.
Alternatively, owners of solar panels can submit a proof of solar electricity generation in the form of a verifiable renewable energy certificate; such as an STC (Small-scale Technology Certificate). 1 STC represents 1 megawatt-hour of electricity generation.
1MWh entitles the certificate holder to 1 SLR coin – and the holder retains the certificate.
But before Australian system owners get too excited; the STC’s associated with their systems were likely cashed in for point of sale discounts on their system purchase as STC’s form the basis of solar subsidisation in Australia. For those who didn’t cash in their STC’s for whatever reason, SolarCoin could provide an unexpected windfall; although the process for certificate holders being issued with SLR’s is still being established. (UPDATE: Possession of RECs/STCs is no longer required – further details here)
SolarCoin’s origins are associated with a paper entitled: DeKo: An Electricity-Backed Currency Proposal; drafted in 2011 and presented in July 2012 in Split, Croatia.
SolarCoin is managed as an open community project by the OCA (Open Currency Association). The OCA designed the supply of SolarCoin to last 40 years; delivering incentives for generating 97,500 TWh of solar electricity.
98.10 billion SolarCoins can be generated and the OCA has set a currency target value of $20-30 USD. 99% of all SolarCoins are held in reserve by the OCA and will be given to verified solar energy generators globally.
Businesses can accept SolarCoin by downloading a wallet and displaying the wallet or QR code.
Trivia: One of the criticisms of BitCoin is the amount of energy expended by “miners” in creating them. SolarCoin believes due to the design of its crypto-currency, it is 50 times more energy efficient than Bitcoin.