Image: Edify Energy
Tesla is entering the world of cryptocurrencies with particular seriousness and understanding. Block and Blockstream have teamed up with Tesla to mine Bitcoin in Texas via solar power.
A blockchain tech company led by co-founder Adam Back, Blockstream, and Jack Dorsey's technology company, Block (formerly Square), which develops solutions for accepting and processing electronic payments, together with Tesla are starting to build a Bitcoin mining farm, reports CNBC. The mining farm will be powered by Tesla's solar panels and battery energy storage systems, Megapack.
Tesla's 3.8 megawatts solar PV array and 12 megawatt-hours Megapack will power the facility and mine Bitcoin in an environmentally friendly way. Elon Musk is a long-time supporter of Bitcoin, but has refused any transactions with it until its mining is ~ 50% provided by renewable energy sources.
Back told CNBC on the sidelines of the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami that the mining facility is designed to be a proof of concept for 100% renewable energy Bitcoin mining at scale. “People like to debate about the different factors to do with bitcoin mining. We figured, let's just prove it. Have an open dashboard so people can play along, maybe it can inform other players to participate,” he said.
The dashboard will be publicly accessible and show real-time metrics of the project’s performance, including power output and total Bitcoin mined, Back explained to CNBC. The company said a later version of the dashboard will also include solar and storage performance data points. “This is a step to proving our thesis that bitcoin mining can fund zero-emission power infrastructure and build economic growth for the future,” Back said.
West Texas is an ideal place to get energy from renewable sources. Here the winds blow and the sun shines, so you can easily find an opportunity to get energy. “You get this perfect overlap with both sun quality and wind speed in West Texas,” said Shaun Connell, executive vice president of power at Houston-based tech company, Lancium.
Back said the off-grid mine, expected to be completed later this year, highlights another key tenet of the Bitcoin network: Miners are location agnostic and can “do it from anywhere without local infrastructure.”
If the project proves profitable during the pilot period, the companies will add wind power and scale up the entire project. “You’re making a sort of calculation of the optimal economic mix between solar and battery,” Back said. “There’s 3.8 megawatts of solar and one megawatt of mining, so you can see you have to overprovision, because the peak solar input varies during the day and, of course, it’s not there at night.”
According to Blockstream, the key goal is to strengthen the Bitcoin network by diversifying the energy sources of the cryptocurrency. “By collaborating on this full-stack, 100% solar-powered bitcoin mining project with Blockstream, using solar and storage technology from Tesla, we aim to further accelerate bitcoin's synergy with renewables,” said Neil Jorgensen, global ESG lead at Block and project lead for Block's Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative.
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