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MNRE asks telecom firms to turn 50000 towers to solar

According to reports, alarmed with environmental hazards and rising fuel imports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) want telecom operators to turn at least 50,000 towers onto solar energy immediately.

Speaking to CIOL, MNRE joint secretary Tarun Kapoor said that they have asked telecom firms to turn 50,000 telecom towers onto solar. The telcos, he said, are reluctant as capital investment, is apparently a key concern for them.

Kapoor, however informed that a cost to turn a tower onto solar energy is somewhere close to Rs 200,000. “They (telecom companies) are also disinclined to disclose their carbon footprint too,” he added.

Minister of State for Communications and IT, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha, has however recently admitted that government has so far not conducted any study to assess the quantum of carbon emission from these towers.

India, as per telecom watchdog, has more than 585,000 towers which consumes 5.12 billion liters of diesel fuel each year. While government allows subsidy on diesel procurement, despite, organizations such as Greenpeace have been campaigning to eschew it.

Telecom regulator TRAI in its new guidelines has asked teleom service providers that at least 50 per cent of all rural towers and 20 per cent of all the urban towers needs to be operated with hybrid power (renewable energy and grid power) resources by 2015.

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