Would it be possible to mine bitcoin only when the sun is up? ie does the miner have to run continuously. I have access to off grid solar that doesn't get used for anything else, so would not need to deal with the cost of electricity.

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A miner does not have to run continuously. You can simply switch it off and on as you wish. Of course, it would make sense to link this to the current output of your solar system. That shouldn't be too complicated.

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