Sunburn—using excess energy of small-scale production for distributed computing

J. K. Nurminen, Tapio Niemi*, J. Strandman, K. Ruokosuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The Sunburn solar computer system is based on the idea of consuming the excess electricity of photovoltaic energy systems for useful computing. In this way, the proposed approach allows us to move a part of computing capacity from dedicated data centers to individual solar energy systems and thereby reduce the energy consumption of the data centers. In principle, the proposed mechanism converts the excess electrical energy into valuable computation. The results of computation or data processing are easier to store and transfer than produced electricity. In small-scale systems, the benefit from storing or selling the excess electricity is small, whereas the benefit from selling the generated data is potentially larger, as we demonstrate in this study. Finally, the technical feasibility of the solution is illustrated by constructing and evaluating a prototype implementation using excess solar energy for distributed BOINC computing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-119
Number of pages23
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Distributed computing
  • Distributed data center
  • Energy storage
  • Green computing
  • Scientific computing
  • Solar energy


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