Clean Power

Published on April 15th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Telecom Tower Market a 2 GW Solar Power Opportunity in India

April 15th, 2012 by  

According to Bridge to India’s latest quarterly market analysis, The India Solar Compass, 2GW of solar power could be installed in conjunction with telecom towers in India by 2016.

According to Bridge to India, “this segment is emerging as a front-runner among diesel-parity based market segments for solar PV solutions.”

While this segment hasn’t taken off already, due to the capital expenditures required by the telecom company as well as the cost of operating and maintaining the systems, solar’s tremendous cost reductions in the past year, combined with more supportive solar policies in India, have made this investment a very attractive one for telecom tower companies.

Bridge to India “believes there is now traction in the market, leading to the emergence of a new model of operations, the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model,” the solar market analysis and consulting firm writes. “The RESCO business model is described in greater detail in the latest edition of the India Solar Compass. In addition, the report details the commercial opportunity as well as market potential associated with the telecom tower solar opportunity. The analysis also highlights the key factors that impact the maximum cash demand, profitability and project life-cycle involvement and therefore the overall financial viability of the RESCO business model.”

All in all, Bridge to India sees this as an immediate business opportunity for companies in the solar and telecom sectors. We’ll see if they really tap it and increase solar power capacity at such towers 2 GW by 2016.

Image: cell tower & solar panels courtesy shutterstock

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Amitabha Mohadani

    Some times, Solar power is not enough to Start a Telecom Base trans receiver station or to reboot the system. For this it needs huge power… That why After implementation we some operators are rejected the Solar power resource.

    I can’t technically described you all, but it true.. So, any one have any doubt then please share with us.

    Thanking you.

    • Anon

      Can we use a hybrid system comprising of diesel generators and solar in order to avoid these starting and rebooting issues?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Add in a third source, storage. Since India’s cost for diesel is so high it might make economic sense to add additional PV and some storage in order to cut back on generator use.

        Additionally, this would cut down on the number of times the generator needs to start/stop and would extend its lifetime.

  • Bob_Wallace

    There’s synergy happening at another level between the telecommunications and solar industries.

    The rural solar systems that are being lease-sold to people living off the grid are controlled by cell phones and telecommunication companies are starting to provide the financing to make these systems more widely available.

    Here’s one of several articles about small solar systems replacing kerosene…

    And from another site –

    “In parts of Africa, the poor, lacking electricity, buy power in the form of batteries, kerosene and candles; in effect, they’re paying as much as $4 per kilowatt-hour, according to Vijay Modi, a Columbia University professor who heads the SharedSolar project. That’s about 66 times what a resident of Manhattan is charged for electricity.

    Simpa co-founder Paul Needham says filling the power gap will entail a transformation similar to the one in which mobile phones bypassed traditional landlines to deliver telecommunications services to vast populations in India and Africa.

    In October, Bangalore-based Simpa Networks Inc. installed a solar panel on Anand’s whitewashed adobe house along with a small metal box in his living room to monitor electricity usage. The 25-year-old rice farmer, who goes by one name, purchases energy credits to unlock the system via his mobile phone on a pay-as-you-go model.

    When his balance runs low, Anand pays 50 rupees ($1) — money he would have otherwise spent on kerosene. Then he receives a text message with a code to punch into the box, giving him about another week of electric light.

    When he pays off the full cost of the system in about three years, it will be unlocked and he will get free power.

    Before the solar panel arrived, Anand lit his home with kerosene lamps that streaked the walls with smoke and barely penetrated the darkness of the village, which lacks electrification. Twice a week, he trudged 45 minutes to a nearby town just to charge his phone.”

    When renewables become profit sources for other businesses then we have reached a tipping point.

    It’s much to the advantage of cell phone companies for their customers to have plenty of electricity to power their phones. Then they can make more calls.

    And if their customers can save money on kero and candles then they’ll have more to spend for phone calls.

    Sell the solar systems for a reasonable profit and grow you business….

    (The Bloomberg article is a good read – covers both less developed and more developed parts of the world – recommended.)

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