According to a report from the Solana Foundation on November 25, a transaction on the Solana network uses less power than two Google searches and 24 times less power than charging the phone.
The report notes that a single transaction on the network uses 0.00051 kilowatt hours, or 1,836 joules, of energy. According to Google, the average search uses 0.0003 kWh or 1080 joules of energy.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the report states that the entire Solana network uses an estimated 3,186,000 kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to the average power consumption of 986 American homes.
In May, the Solana Foundation contracted Robert Murphy to write an “environmental impact report” for transactions on the Solana network. Murphy is the founder of Othersphere and was previously an energy specialist at the World Bank.
Solana’s network is less decentralized than Bitcoin or Ethereum as it has 1,196 verification nodes and processes around 20 million transactions annually. The report says that the company will work to reduce energy consumption online, implement a program to reduce carbon emissions and compensate for the ecological footprint of the ecosystem by the end of this year. No further information was provided on whether the network plans to buy carbon credits or actually cut emissions.
Since Solana (SOL) is based on the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, the network uses less power than networks based on the Proof of Work mining methods such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Statista estimates that a single BTC transaction uses an average of 4,222,800,000 joules.
It should be noted that networks technically do not use any particular amount of energy for a single transaction. The power consumption of a network can be the same whether it processes a single transaction or a million transactions. However, it is often used as a rough comparison if it is disputed.
With this in mind, a single Ethereum transaction uses approximately 644,004,000 joules based on the average number of transactions and the amount of energy required to operate the network. According to Statista, the energy consumption of a single ETH transaction is comparable to “more than a few thousand VISA card transactions”.
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However, Eth2 is expected to use approximately 99% less power than the current network after the transition to Proof of Take.
Another low-power option is Ripple (XRP), which uses 28,440 joules per transaction. Ripple claims that for every million transactions on the network, the amount of energy it uses can drive a light bulb for 79,000 hours.
With the same number of transactions, the energy used by BTC can drive a light bulb for 4.51 billion hours. For this reason, Ripple claims that XRP is 57,000 times more efficient than BTC.