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Bitcoin Back in Vogue: Firm Plans Massive Solar-Power Mining Op in California

Bitcoin’s bulls are back, and so is the genesis cryptocurrency’s mining industry. As such, one startup is on the verge of launching what would instantly become the most sprawling solar-powered bitcoin mining operation in all of North America.

A subsidiary of Houston-based holding company Plouton Group, Plouton Mining announced on June 25th its intentions to build a massive bitcoin mining op across a plot of land approximately 50 acres in size. The site is set for construction in Western Mojave, California.

Bitcoin Mining Environment

That area experiences a desert climate, which Plouton’s team said will make it “one of the most ideal locations” for such a mining farm, as there will be no shortage of sunlight for Plouton’s solar panel fields to draw in.

“The region is basked in sunlight 70% of the year,” the company noted in their announcement, referring to the wider Southern California locale.

Once completed, the mining operation is expected to generate as much as 13 megawatts of energy on a daily basis, at least for 330 days out of the year. To put that into context, one megawatt hour supplies enough energy to power around 650 homes, at least roughly speaking.

Upon the plan’s unveiling, Plouton Mining’s chief executive officer Ramak Sedigh commented that the continued rise of solar power could help the Bitcoin network achieve long-term sustainability, saying:

“The preeminent combination of nature and technology will usher in the next stage of bitcoin mining evolution, fulfilling the promise of Bitcoin as a sustainable, decentralized network of transactions.”

All the consequent mining won’t be done just on Plouton’s behalf, as well. Like other cloud mining plays, the company will host and manage the miners itself so prospective customers can rent the hardware out remotely.

Bitcoin Mining Industry Sees Demand Explode Again

With the cryptoeconomy presently kicking into bullish gear once more, bitcoin has been leading the run-up all the way.

The surge of bullish optimism around the OG cryptocurrency has demand returning to the bitcoin mining industry, which was depressed across the board during the 2018 bear market. Steven Mosher, marketing and sales lead at miner manufacturer Canaan Creative, told CoinDesk this week that demand has recently all but exploded for mining gear.

“It looks like a return to the 2017 Q3 [and] Q4 conditions, where demand was three times the supply,” he said.

It’s an unsurprising development, insofar as the bitcoin price’s fresh uptrend over $12,000 has made it faster to pay off mining hardware, thus paving to way to quicker profits — for now.

With the current BTC valuation, it may take entrepreneurs around eight weeks to pay off such hardware, a significant drawdown from just a few months ago when it would still have taken the better part of a year to start generating bitcoin mining profits.

Renewable Energy Powering Most of Bitcoin, Study Finds

A study released by cryptocurrency research company Coinshares earlier this month projected that just over 74 percent of present bitcoin mining operations are powered by renewable energy sources.

Moreover, the report’s researchers went on to estimate that it costs around $5,700 in recent times to produce a single bitcoin. With the bitcoin price now hovering over $11,000, that estimate would mean miners generally have plenty of margin for profitability at the moment.

The study’s findings come as skeptics continue to argue that the Bitcoin network’s energy usage is excessive and ultimately unsustainable.

Proponents point to the network’s reliance on excess renewable energy that would otherwise go to waste, but PwC blockchain expert Alex de Vries argues the reality of the situation is more complex. For example, he points to massive mining ops in China that have considerably less hydropower to rely on in dry months and so turn to environmentally harmful fossil fuel energy sources during those periods.

“It might even provide an incentive for the construction of new coal-based power plants in order to meet the higher base demand,” de Vries has said.

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