Just to make things clear, blockchain cannot be used as solar panels. There’s no such thing as blockchain-powered solar plants. Don’t expect solar panels that generate electricity through cryptography and a unified ledger system that converts sunlight into electric power.
The phrase blockchain solar projects mean the use of blockchain technology as part of a solar power generation system. It is not part of the main components of the system but still an important feature that promotes better solar power.
With the advent of small-scale renewable power generation technologies, virtually everyone can now be a power producer. Homes can install solar panels on their roofs and be able to generate their own electricity. There are also those that use wind turbines or combined heat and power (CHP) systems to produce their own electricity.
These homes that produce their own electricity can sell the extra power they generate. The problem is how to do this in an efficient manner. Creating a local grid that facilitates the sale of individually produced power is going to be a difficult task. How will the power consumption be measured? How will the individual home contribution to the local power grid be accounted for?
There’s a solution being considered: the so-called smart grid. This entails the use of “smart meters” that are capable of accurately tracking power consumption digitally. The problem is that this would be costly and only a very few companies are interested in implementing it. Fortunately, blockchain technology presents a less expensive alternative.
Blockchain enables energy production and its subsequent sale directly to consumers through a peer-to-peer network. This way, there’s no need for an intermediary to oversee transactions. It becomes easier to keep track of the consumption of homes that take their power from the local grid.
There is actually a system that already uses blockchain to facilitate this kind of sale of home-generated energy. It’s called the Brooklyn project. Another similar project, SolarCoin, also employs blockchain but in a slightly different manner. With SolarCoin, home power producers get to earn the cryptocurrency SolarCoin by producing solar energy (instead of mining it just like how it’s done with bitcoins).
So to answer the question in this post’s title, it can be said that yes blockchain indirectly helps save the environment. This is because it serves as an effective tool in encouraging everyone to produce solar power and sell the extra energy they generate to others in the community through a peer-to-peer system.
Blockchain solar projects offer an enticing opportunity for individuals or households to become power producers. This is a boon for the shift towards renewable energy. It can help save the environment.