Panchabuta has opined that the potential for solar lies in the offgrid applications. We have been talking about the immense potential in the telecom space-particularly in the rural telecom and telecom tower space.
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.
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 major step recently, the government announced that as many as 400 telecom towers will be powered by solar panels. 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.
Since Indus Towers India’s largest cell phone tower company owning more than 110,000 towers and owned by Bharti, Vodafone and Idea cellular with Bharati and Vodafone announced that the company has launched a plan to power 2500 towers using Solar in an initial program.
According to reports, Alta-Xintong Solar Tech Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Bangalore-based Alta Energy Technologies Pvt Ltd and Chinese solar system solution provider XinTong, has launched DC solar power systems for power telecom towers in India. The company has tied up with an international financial institution to finance deployment of solar power systems.
The system would support the operators to run their new towers through solar power, reducing dependency on diesel powered systems which are currently under use, said E M Abdul Manaf, managing director, Alta Energy Technologies Pvt Ltd. The company is expecting to sell around 2,000 solar power systems by end of 2011, he added.
“We are in advanced stages of finalising 2,000 solar power systems for leading tower companies in India under the zero investment plan. We are in talks with major tower operators like Indus and GTL to provide the new system for their upcoming projects and shifting some of the existing towers from diesel system to solar system,” he added.
Around 30,000 towers out of the total 300,000 telecom sites in the country are in off-grid rural locations, where it is run round the clock on diesel power. Besides, estimates are that around 36,000 sites are expected to come up in every year in India, with a market value of $ 2.16 billion.
The company has entered into tie-up with an international financial institution to provide an investment plan to the tower operators, zero investment plan. Under the plan, the financial institution would provide loan for investment, through which the tower operators could avail the system without making up-front investment.
Alta holds 65 per cent and XinTong holds 35 per cent of shares in the joint venture firm.