Is crypto mining with solar power worth it? Crypto mining, whether it is for Bitcoin or any other type of coins, is an expensive and a very energy-intensive process.
It needs a lot of computing power and electricity when you run your crypto mining rig all through the day.
Due to the huge electricity bills, profitability for your mining operations may be low.
Therefore, it is good and quite natural to look for an alternative source of power.
For that matter you may consider using solar energy to power your mining rig.
Over the years, the crypto miners from all over the world are setting up solar units to power their mining rigs and curb their operating cost, though the larger groups find it better to set up their crypto mining stations in cold countries.
But if you are an individual miner or mine crypto coins on a smaller scale, it is smarter to set up rooftop solar power units along with a battery back-up in your facility.
This is an increasingly popular option to reduce the operating cost of crypto mining.
It is true that using solar energy for mining crypto will reduce your cost of mining operations and also have a positive impact on the environment but it is required to make sure whether or not it is feasible and worthy in the first place.
Keeping that in mind, go through this article to have all your doubts cleared.
In this article you will find everything right from the pros and cons of using solar power for crypto mining to the components required and the factors to consider.
Is Crypto Mining With Solar Power Worth It?
The process of crypto mining involves solving complex cryptographic equations or mathematical problems.
This process is highly secured in which data blocks are verified by the participants of a network called miners and each of the computers linked to the network is called the node.
The records of each transaction are added to a distributed public ledger using blockchain technology.
All these complex mathematical problems are solved in an online decentralized environment and for that it is needed to use high-end computers.
These computers need a constant and high supply of power to operate.
According to some reports, the average annual consumption of electricity to perform any crypto activity is equal to the amount of energy consumed by Argentina on the whole.
Apart from that, you can add about 37 megatons of carbon dioxide released to the air every year.
In regions where cost of electricity is high, using renewable energy sources such as solar power will be more beneficial and feasible to continue mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
As it is, the use of electricity or other sources of power for crypto mining results in huge carbon emissions which impacts the environment severely and therefore it is not sustainable to move forward.
More importantly, it increases the operating costs.
Therefore, using solar energy for mining crypto coins is more sensible for all parties involved.
Add to it, when you use battery storage along with a solar PV system, you will have energy independence and also a new level of autonomy.
In fact, it is found that even if you use a 5 KVA solar power supply along with battery backup, it will save you more than 60% of your total operational cost.
Along with the cost of power, you should also consider the cost of the mining equipment, which, mind you, is not at all cheap and varies according to their types.
A lot of companies today have set up rooftop solar power units for the power necessities for their operation and the crypto companies are not excluded from the list.
Number of Panels
Mining crypto coins with solar power is absolutely possible these days.
In order to set up a solar power system in your crypto mining facility you will first need to make an estimate of how much energy you will need to mine a coin in the first place.
Knowing this will help you to decide how many solar panels would be required to support your mining operation.
If you are using multiple GPUs for mining Bitcoin in particular, you will need energy to the tune of 6000 watts approximately.
Therefore, you will need to estimate the number of solar panels that will be needed to run your mining rig during the day time as well as charge the battery backup to continue to mine the coins at night.
If each solar panel has the capacity of 300 watts then you will need 20 such panels to mine Bitcoin.
Along with that, you will need a 500Ah battery backup to run your mining rig at night.
Remember, having a battery backup is essential for this because it will provide security and power independence.
If you live in the sunny parts of the United States, every square meter of the solar panel can generate nearly 229.2 watts or power each day.
And, a typical Bitcoin mining system will need nearly 450 to 500 watts of power to operate.
However, you will need to run multiple GPUs if you want to make a profit from your mining operation and that will need a constant power supply anywhere ranging between 900 watts and 1500 watts a day.
If you do the math based on these facts and figures, you will need about 2.5 square meters to 3 square meters of solar panels for any average crypto mining rig to operate, and as much as 3 square meters to 6 square meters of solar panels to run a set of multiple GPUs.
Of course, all these numbers are dependent on the particular region your crypto mining set up is as well as the overall energy consumption of the rig.
Also, you will need to consider the amount of solar energy available in your location.
This is very important to determine the cost of the solar system as well as the Return on Investment.
On an average, on a sunny day in most parts of the US the amount of solar energy you can get is nearly 5.5 kWh/m2 every day.
This means that the output of your solar panels should be nearly 229.2W/m2 in one hour, as said earlier which is derived from the formula 5500 / 24 hours.
Additionally, you will also need to install some more solar panels or surfaces or produce some extra power and store the unspent power for use later at nights or when it is cloudy.
Assuming that you will get about 11 hours of sunlight, this means that you will need to store additional power to run your crypto mining rig for 13 hours.
If you are running multiple GPUs then you will need about 6 to 12 square meters of solar surface.
Therefore, to sum it up, it can be said that you will need roughly 6 to 12 square meters of solar panels in order to build a decent solar system to power your crypto mining rig continuously.
Typically, solar Bitcoin mining equipment consists of the following components:
- Solar mining rig hardware – This is low voltage hardware, typically ranging between 10 volts and 14 volts. These units typically need 150 ampere of current to operate and therefore usually come with a 200 ampere fuse and are supplied to the device directly from a single 12 volt battery. However, the specs may vary from one model to another.
- Solar panels and batteries – You will also need solar panels to build your solar Bitcoin miner that will power up the batteries. For determining the size of the battery you will need to consider the coverage factor. You will also need a voltage regulator in order to charge the batteries along with a fuse to the miner for protecting it in case there is a short circuit.
That is all you will need to build your solar Bitcoin mining rig.
Now, in order to determine the cost of the solar power set up, you will first need to determine how much energy you will need to mine a single Bitcoin in a day.
Based on the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index of Digiconomist, creating and completing mining a single Bitcoin will need 1,544 kWh of energy. This is quite a significant amount of energy.
Based on this assumption, if you consider the average cost of energy in the United States to be 13 cents per kWh, then the cost of energy required to create one Bitcoin will be: 1544kWh x $0.13 = $200.72
Then you will also need to consider the cost of the Bitcoin mining hardware which itself is quite a lot and varies according to the different makes and models.
However, on an average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for a mining system.
Apart from that, you will also need to determine the cost of the solar panels which also depend and vary on the size and the type of the panels you want to install.
Therefore, to summarize, it can be said that the cost of the solar Bitcoin mining rig will depend on three basic factors such as:
- The average costs for solar panels in the US
- The average cost of Bitcoin mining rigs in the US and
- The specs and type of the mining rig and the solar panels.
The overall cost of your solar Bitcoin mining rig will also depend on the region as well as how exactly you plan to use it.
The location is an important factor because that will determine the number of peak sun hours available.
Now since it is all about cost, you may also need to know how long it would take for your solar Bitcoin miner to pay off.
Once again, this is all based on assumptions.
Assuming that you live in California and are using an Antminer S19 for mining your coins, it would take about 8 to 9 years for it to pay back.
However, this is all based only on the costs saved by not having to use electricity.
If your actual Bitcoin mining profit is higher, it may take even less than that.
Peak Sun Hours
The kind of wattage drawn by the mining rigs will depend on the peak sun hours, or the amount of sunlight available in your area.
This will primarily help in determining the number of solar panels you will need.
In order to find out the peak sun hours of your area, you can use a Global Solar Atlas and look for your region on it.
However, if you are using the Global Solar Atlas you must make it a point that you use the specific Global Horizontal Irradiation or GHI.
Need for Solar Power
Now, with all these expenses involved in a solar power set up, you may tend to think whether or not it is really needed to use a solar powered crypto mining rig.
Well, with the increase in the consumption of energy due to crypto mining by tenfold in the past couple of years to about 91 terawatt-hours every year, there seems to be no other alternative that is good and feasible.
According to some reports, this amounts to 0.5% of electricity consumption worldwide.
This is an alarming rate of energy consumption which has forced miners to look for greener energy that will result in less electricity consumption.
Apart from that, the side effects of such huge energy consumption and the characteristic carbon emission due to crypto mining that has resulted in significant changes in the climatic conditions is another good reason to shift towards greener energy.
Using solar energy is expected to prevent global warming by about 2°C and at the same time it will also save the world from the harmful effects of dumping more than 24 kilotons of e-waste every year into the environment.
Therefore, with such double negative effects, shifting to renewable energy such as solar power seems to be quite worthy to mine crypto coins.
Factors to Consider
There are some factors to consider when you want to shift to solar energy while mining crypto coins. These are:
- Region – Since regions that receive more sunlight will be more suitable for solar crypto mining, you should consider the location before you set up your solar mining rig. Ideally, as said earlier, the higher the peak sun hours, the lesser number of solar panels will be required.
- Power requirement – This is also an important factor to consider since it will determine the number of solar panels needed as well.
- Number of solar panels – This will determine the overall cost of the solar set up, the space required for installing those many panels as well as the power generated. It is usually determined on the basis of the region and electricity requirement.
- Mining equipment – The types of mining equipment used is also very important to consider. This involves complex machines with wattage ratings anywhere between 1200 watts and 3250 watts. Typically, the mining equipment will also determine the number of solar panels required as well as the cost of the entire set up.
- Space – Since you will need to set up at least 30 to 40 solar panels, you will need a roof space of about 528 to 704 square feet approximately.
Though shifting to green energy is advised today, you should not jump into it without considering all these important factors.
It is very important to determine the feasibility of such a transition.
It is only after that you should focus on choosing the most suitable method for mining your crypto coins to enhance your chances of making profits.
Pros and Cons
Finally, you should consider the pros and cons of shifting to greener energy for mining crypto coins before you make your final decision.
You will not need to pay any electricity bills for mining crypto coins if you use solar power since it is free.
The modern solar panels typically last for several years and therefore you will continue to enjoy mining crypto coins for ‘free’ for many years to come.
Though there are some significant initial costs to install a solar power system, there is hardly any ongoing cost.
Therefore, your passive income will continue to build up over time.
Since solar power is green, you will be using an eco-friendly solution when you use solar power for mining crypto coins.
Therefore, you will be contributing for the well being of the environment with no greenhouse gas or carbon emissions or any other environmental issues that may result in changes in the climatic conditions.
A solar power system is robust and reliable since it will not fail as often as a conventional power grid and interrupt your mining operations.
Therefore, once again, you will ensure a steady flow of income since a solar power system is immune to such failures.
Most importantly, a solar power system is absolutely yours. Therefore, you will be self-reliant and independent in your crypto mining efforts, which is a good moral boost.
One of the most significant drawbacks of using a solar powered crypto mining rig is that it will need you to spend quite a lot of money in setting up the infrastructure which is not required if you use traditional grid power.
Since the initial cost of setting up a solar power system is quite high, you will need to be patient for quite some time to recoup the cost and break even.
You will also need to stay committed to mining the specific crypto coin for several years and also will need to mine them on a comparatively large scale to recover the costs.
The amount of electricity produced may not be enough if you use fewer solar panels or calculate the peak sun hours erroneously.
There may also be issues with the amount of electricity produced if the conditions are overcast or during bad weather conditions.
Finally, if you do not have adequate space required to set up the solar panels, which may be quite huge mind you, setting up a solar power system may not be worthwhile.
Therefore, consider your living circumstances as well as the number of solar panels you need to install before starting.
Remember, fewer solar panels will not generate the huge power required to mine crypto coins, as said earlier.
Now that you know about solar crypto mining you can determine its feasibility and go ahead with it.
Mining crypto coins, Bitcoin or any other, is surely possible provided you live in an area where there is adequate sunlight for most part of the day.
As it is pointed out in this article, if sunlight is not enough, using a solar crypto mining rig will be expensive and non-profitable.