Solar energy for cellular towers
With the teledensity having reached a 70 percent mark in Pakistan, cellular towers are now expanding their networks to the remotest of locations. However an unreliable grid supply and presence of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in off-grid areas has left the telecom companies dependent on diesel generators to fill the electricity gap.
High operating costs and carbon emissions make generators an expensive option for the telecom companies. Low capacity utilization and high transportation costs of fuel to such remote locations inflate energy costs further. Renewable energy provides a feasible alternate in all locations, especially remote ones. Solar is widely being used for this purpose in developing nations such as India and Africa. OMC Power, a renewable energy venture in India, provides renewable energy for cell towers and supplies the surplus electricity to the surrounding communities. These Micropower electricity plants allow businesses and households to power their mobile phones, lights, fans, and appliances, improving the quality of life in the community and sustaining economic growth.
Such instances if replicated in Pakistan can bring cost savings and a better standard of life for the telecom companies and the communities, respectively. Inam ur Rahman, CEO Reon Energy Limited, states “By increasing the number of Solar powered cell-sites, telecom companies can hedge against the market fuel price volatility, and reduce their long term operating costs. Back up batteries help the system provide energy during the non-sunlight hours. Diesel Generators can be completely eliminated.”