IHS Africa, a Nigeria-based telecoms infrastructure company, is planning deploy multi-operator solar powered cell sites in a bid to slash its diesel consumption by up to 50% in the next two years.
The company, which manages cell sites on behalf of operators in Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan and South Sudan, plans to invest $45-50 million in solar power technology to cut diesel use from its 4,000 generator powered cell sites in West Africa.
IHS has already opened the first site, a multi-operator installation that consists of solar panels covering an area of 96 sq metres and capable of producing a total capacity of 12 kilowatt peak (kWp) of electricity. The installation will supply electricity to three mobile network operators, with further room for expansion.
William Saad, group CTO, IHS, said: “We are pleased to see operators increasingly adopting the use of small, single-operator solar powered cell sites, alongside much larger installations, such as ours, to meet their power demands and reduce costs. African countries provide reliable levels of intense sunlight and operators everywhere have similar needs to reduce OPEX, improve uptime and be socially and environmentally sustainable."
Site access is often difficult in rural areas and connection to an electricity grid is seldom possible or prohibitive in price, so a stand-alone power system is often required, according to IHS.
IHS currently has 4000 towers under management, owns 900 towers for collocation with each tower having guaranteed 99.9% uptime for electricity.