Solar, Wind Power Enable ‘Green’ Cell Base Station Market
In the last few years, the number of worldwide cellular base stations has exploded from the hundreds of thousands to the many millions, creating greenhouse gases and pollution from the power required to run them, reports In-Stat. Base stations on an electric grid aren’t the real problem, but as cellular spreads to billions of people in emerging countries, off-grid base stations, which are usually powered by diesel generators running 24/7, proliferate.
“While diesel pollution is an environmental issue, what bothers operators the most is the cost of powering and securing the generators,” says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. “Diesel fuel has to be trucked to remote sites, and theft of diesel fuel and equipment can cost operators millions of dollars. The solution is for operators to at least partially power remote base stations with wind turbines, solar panels, or both. This is truly a case where it pays to be green.”
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
- By 2014, over 230,000 cellular base stations in developing countries will be solar-powered or wind-powered.
- The number of off-grid base stations is growing at 30% per year.
- Off-grid base stations are primarily located in Africa, South Asia (including India), South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.