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Microtelecom Solar powered towers to provide mobile coverage to billions of people in rural areas

As regular readers of Panchabuta know,we have often talked about the huge potential that off-grid solar offers. We believe that big potential exists in the Telecom infrastructure, Railways, Defence sector apart from numerous domestic and industrial applications in the low and medium temperature solar collectors.

The department of telecom (DoT) plans to provide subsidies and incentives to operators using renewable energy.

Some of the incentives include 30 per cent subsidy on the total cost of making 200 towers eco-friendly in a certain area and supporting the rollout of eco-friendly towers in rural areas.

“With many telecom towers set in rural areas where power is a major problem, diesel has become the major source to provide continuous telephone network. Renewable energy solutions such as solar cells or hydrofuels will ensure that at least the power requirements of the towers in rural areas are solved,” a DoT official said.

As Panchabuta has earlier reported, a proposal is being finalized  by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) that is aimed at containing the use of polluting diesel generators to provide back-up power for cellphone towers.

There has been a lot of activity in the cell phone tower space with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) awarding a tender for powering Cellphone sites using Solar Energy in Western Uttar Pradesh in India.

 Soon after, Air Liquide announced of a pilot project with Bharti Airtel to run telecom towers using hydrogen and most recently, Electro Power Systems Italy announced the launch of  ElectroSelf, the first self-recharging fuel cell system in India for backup power for telecom towers.

Recently, a new solar power system designed specifically for the Indian telecom market has been launched by Eltek Valere, a provider of high efficiency power systems.

Now according to this report, Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) and lithium ion battery maker Boston Power today announced that the two companies have successfully developed the small-scale telecom stations which VNL plans to roll out this year. The communications-based stations, called WorldGSM, are designed to operate entirely from a few solar panels and are not connected to the grid. The Boston Power batteries can power the tower, which can be set up in half a day, for up to three days without sunlight. VNL calls the WorldGSM towers a “microtelecom” product because they are designed for the billions of people who live in rural areas outside the mobile phone network’s reach. VNL says these customers typically spend less than two dollars a month on mobile phone service. Coupling storage with cell phone base stations makes sense in many places where connecting to the grid is a challenge or adds significantly to the cost.

One comment

  1. For VNL my question is ,what about after three days if sun does not appear in rainy season or winters in northern India? What is the backup for solar powered towers?

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