Despite the current bear market for crypto, a new bitcoin miner has started mining at a 6 megawatts (MW) solar-powered facility in western Colorado.
Aspen Creek Digital Corporation (ACDC) was launched in January of this year and its mining operation is co-located at a solar farm that has a capacity of 10MW. The goal of the company is to start with mining bitcoin at its data center and eventually offer computing services to other businesses, according to a statement shared with CoinDesk.
The Colorado data center will run S19 bitcoin mining machines and will be co-located with a 75,000-square-foot R&D and fulfillment facility. The facility will serve as a centralized testing, maintenance, storage and training hub for ACDC's future computing infrastructure.
The miner is entering the industry at a time when the existing miners are finding it difficult to remain profitable with the decline in crypto prices, hashrates near all-time highs, a tightening capital market, higher power costs and supply chain issues.
However, ACDC said it was able to raise enough cash ahead of time to secure the required switch gears and transformers for 240MW of capacity, according to CEO Alexandra DaCosta. “We wanted to make sure that we had the appropriate infrastructure onhand, to build out our first phase. So for our projects, now we actually have more than enough,” she told CoinDesk.
Crypto-focused financial services firm Galaxy Digital (GLXY) was impressed enough by the miner's management team and “power first” approach that it allocated some of Galaxy's own miners to be hosted at ACDC's Colorado site.
“The best time to build is a bear market and people shouldn't be afraid of the market conditions, they just have to make sure that they're doing it appropriately and effectively,” Amanda Fabiano, Head of Mining at Galaxy told CoinDesk.
Fabiano said that she has seen many miners try to raise money first and then try to find operation sites and power sources. However, ACDC did the opposite by figuring out the power and infrastructure first. “She [DaCosta] took the problem of mining and spun it on its head and looked at it from a different perspective, which is really special,” Fabiano added.
Aside from the Colorado data center, ACDC is also developing bitcoin mining sites across Texas. Its second facility, which is on track to be operational this summer, is a 30MW data center capable of hosting 10,000 ASIC miners co-located behind-the-meter with an 87MW solar farm. And a third project is a 150MW data center, also co-located behind-the-meter, with a 200MW solar farm.
Although the miner's operations will be powered by solar energy, they will still be connected to the grid to have the option to provide power back to the grid. When asked about the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's (ERCOT) latest requirement for new large scale miners to seek permission before connecting to the grid, DaCosta said that her company had already successfully completed the procedural requirements for its second site, and is doing the appropriate work for the third site.
ACDC said it was able to figure out the power sources with the help of its partners who have experience in building renewable energy power infrastructure. The renewable power developers are also part of the miner's founding group and equity investors in the company.
The move to use solar as a power source comes as more miners are looking to use renewable sources of energy for their operations as lawmakers around the world scrutinize miners' energy consumption. Most recently, Adam Back's Blockstream and Jack Dorsey's Block (SQ) said that they are building a pilot crypto mine in Texas that will be powered by a Tesla (TSLA) solar installation and batteries.
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