IHS has opened a large-scale solar-powered cell site in Africa – in Lagos, Nigeria. The solar panels cover 96 m2, can produce 12 kWp and supply electricity to three mobile network operators.
The demand for solar energy is increasing for mobile operators in sub-Saharan Africa. Telecommunications infra- structure provider IHS Africa is converting 90% of its 900 mobile towers to be powered by solar energy.
The investment will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 24 000 t/y, says IHS group chief technology officer William Saad, adding that long-term savings will accrue from immunity to diesel price fluctuations.
Depending on the site load, IHS will save between 40% and 75% on energy costs.
“We are investing $60-million to $80-million in solar and other renewable-energy projects during the coming year,” he says.
He further explains the importance of African telecoms companies converting to renew- able energy, as power supply is unstable and unavailable in many regions, the telecoms services market is increasing, diesel generators will contribute to escalating costs and will therefore not be affordable for rural communities, diesel delivery to sites is unpredictable and the cell sites will have no noise pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
“African countries provide reliable levels of intense sunlight and operators everywhere have similar needs to reduce emissions, improve uptime and be socially and environmentally sustain- able,” states Saad.