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 as Panchabuta has often repeated.
Panchabuta has earlier reported that, 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.
In a recent study, as Panchabuta has reported earlier, use of diesel generators in cellphone towers leads to a staggering five million tonnes of annual carbon emissions in India and there is a need to replace them with solar panel. With the number of mobile phone users in the country swelling rapidly, telecom operators are going in for more high-intensity cellphone towers for better network efficiency entailing a massive consumption of diesel — about two billion litres every year — for power generation to run them.
It seems that finally according to reports, as many as 400 telecom towers will be powered by solar panels. According to the report, the towers, which will get started in April in a Rs. 120-crore project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), will kick off in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and involve state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and tower infrastructure firm GTL and Indus Towers.
Of the 400 towers, installed at R30 lakh each, 100 will be of BSNL. The ministry will subsidise about 30 % of the tower costs.
Finally after a lot of talking and discussions, this is a positive step albeit a small one. Some of the private tower companies have already announced bigger plans for hybrid solutions as Panchabuta has earlier detailed.