Empowering villages, empowering growth: WATT’s solar solutions illuminate West African communities
Did you know that 54% of the Sub-Saharan African population does not have access to mobile services?
While telecommunication infrastructure is on the rise there is a significant need for more. We explore how telcos in West Africa can transform their operations, while increasing their infrastructure by utilizing solar power solutions, right from the commissioning and installation phase – while also improving their role in the communities they serve.
Making a positive impact on the communities that it serves has always been at the very heart of the telecommunications industry. It’s also a cornerstone of our approach at WATT to provide reliable, green power solutions to West African telecommunication providers.
There are obvious social benefits to increasing connectivity between people – from improved access to health and education, to increased economic opportunities. However, West African telco providers have a dirty habit they can’t seem to shake – diesel powered generators. In fact, globally, telecommunication providers are responsible for almost 2% of global CO2 emissions – equivalent to burning well over 848 billion pounds of coal.
Getting rid of diesel: cut costs and reduce downtime
While diesel generation was historically the only choice for creating a relatively reliable power supply for towers, a hybrid solar and storage solution is becoming an increasingly popular option.
We partnered with Alliance Towers to install solar PV on its telecommunications sites across Nigeria, and ensured 100% power availability by opting to co-locate on all suitable sites.
By opting for solar installations to power operations, we reduce and in some instances eliminate the need for diesel to be bought and transported to site, resulting in:
- Lower CO2 emissions
- Reduced operations costs
Furthermore, by applying our AI-enabled remote monitoring and automation, we can monitor these sites remotely, gain access to insights and get ahead of any problems – drastically reducing any potential downtime, while improving maintenance operations onsite.
Realising the potential of modern-day tower sites
As with almost all tower power solutions, there is an element of redundancy built in to ensure the tower’s power demands are always met. The same is true for a hybrid solar and storage solution.
Residual power is first used to charge the tower site’s batteries, however, oftentimes, there is further residual power that can be offered to the community at a subsidised rate.
In some communities, this model has brought light to villagers for the first time, while others are benefiting from improved access to education, healthcare, and digital banking. In Gumaka, for example, where around 50% of the population are school-aged children, the village’s 300 residents are benefiting from power and light for the first time.
By opting for solar power solutions, you can go to bed confident that not only are your towers operating without downtime, but that you’re offering the communities your towers serve with additional benefits – furthering your ESG credentials.
More money for your business, fewer problems
ESG benefits aside, choosing to power telecommunications through a hybrid solar storage solution and then providing subsidised power to the local community comes with financial benefits.
Alternatives, such as nano and microgrids, are not financially viable without their own subsidy in place – whereas the residual power from tower sites is already there.
Thousands of towers are being constructed, upgraded or replaced across Nigeria in the next few years – that money is already accounted for within the business plan and very little further investment would be needed to make this potential ESG impact a reality.
By reimagining the role of the tower site as a community asset, telcos can drive socioeconomic value across numerous metrics, from healthcare and education to new business ventures and finance – meeting ESG objectives while also increasing network penetration and quality.
Find out more about how we can help you improve your telecommunication projects in West Africa.