In my previous post about blockchain and cryptocurrency, I discussed why I thought Tesla was making such a substantial investment in Bitcoin and allowing the cryptocurrency to be used for car purchases in the future. The balance of its revenue stream, which comes from selling surplus Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), will dry up in the next several years as competing automakers can produce their own Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) and build up their own RECs with states that require them.
Allowing its customers to purchase vehicles entirely or partially with Bitcoin is potentially one way of differentiating Tesla from other auto manufacturers. But this in and of itself is not a sustainable business strategy.
Perhaps Elon Musk has another, even wilder business plan for Tesla over the long-term — a plan just as crazy ambitious as building giant reusable space rockets that can land on their tails.
Your solar roof: The ultimate idle money game
Besides cars, Tesla’s other significant business involves solar panels, solar roofs, and batteries. The batteries are used in their cars and provide power storage for their residential solar systems, sold as the Tesla Powerwall.
In most states where residential solar is installed, surplus energy from the arrays can be fed back into the grid where the local power company will “net meter” or prorate a customer’s electric bill based on what they generate into or draw from the system. Based on a customer’s consumption and how much a solar system produces, there will be a surplus or a deficit.
Powerwalls can store that surplus energy and power various things in your home, including air conditioners, and charge your Tesla EV.
But suppose Tesla added a capability to its on-premises solar energy/battery energy management computer built into its inverter system or the Powerwall that would give it GPUs for mining cryptocurrencies? These are already connected to home Wi-Fi. They have a management app, so upgrading it with Wi-Fi 6 and attaching it to a cryptocurrency network and an easy-to-use mobile app for cryptocurrency account management would be an achievable systems integration effort for Tesla, given the company’s considerable engineering resources.
It would then be possible for your home to become the ultimate idle money-producing game — you would generate actual Bitcoins with the surplus energy your solar system makes. That might be more lucrative than getting the net metering discount from your power company, which is not incentivized to be price competitive with your solar system’s energy output, as most of these companies are paying Time-Of-Use (TOU) pricing for your power generation.
If you have a large enough solar array and you live in a state with plenty of sunshine — and assuming Tesla comes up with an easily expandable, modular design (perhaps even as an add-on product for Powerwall) — you could add a whole chain of these GPUs to your solar computer and make a decent amount of crypto.
That makes the prospect of installing solar in your home a lot more attractive if you figure the Tesla roof, on average, will cost $50,000 to $75,000, not counting government tax incentives.
All Tesla needs is a simple app interface to point and click which cryptos you want to mine, API integration with a currency exchange for cash conversion, and, presto, everyone with a solar roof is in the crypto business.
Why Tesla and GPUs
To execute this plan, Tesla would need a power-efficient GPU that requires minimal cooling (perhaps fanless, or even water-cooled). If these GPUs are colocated with the Inverter/Powerwall, they would have to operate in environments that could get as hot as inside a garage during summer months or inside a housing mounted on the outside of your home, unless they are physically networked…