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It was only yesterday I sent a long article in the EAI Newsletter on how renewable energy could become disruptive by focussing on underserved segments to begin with. In that, I had specifically mentioned mobile towers as one low-hanging candidate for solar PV.

It was thus heartening to read a news article today on how cell phone towers would soon be running on solar energy, if the ministries of renewable energy and telecommunications have their way. The two ministries recently announced plans to get telecom tower operators to use solar power to operate their towers.

India currently has more than 250,000 cell phone towers, which consume about 2 billion litres of diesel per year. Each tower consumes an average 5 kilowatts of power and the consumption increases with the number of telecom operators using the tower.

The move from diesel to solar and other alternate sources of energy will result in a reduction of 5 million tons of CO2 emissions as well as a savings of $1.4 billion in operating expenses (opex) for telecom tower companies.

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