India-based energy provider Husk Power and mobile phone operator Hotspot Network said they would combine their smart solutions to bring telecoms infrastructure to net zero in rural Nigeria through solar microgrids.
According to the two firms, the initiative will see 100 telecoms towers that still run-on diesel switched to solar power by June 2023.
“In Nigeria, 25,000 telecom towers and their base transceiver stations (BTS) use 1.25 million litres of diesel per day. If converted to solar, our project will avoid at least 50 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year,” says Husk Power. The company was founded in 2008 and is headed in Nigeria by Olu Aruike.
Aruike added, “By partnering with commercial and industrial businesses, we can speed up Nigeria’s C&I energy transition, and also open up more low carbon, modern services to drive economic opportunities where they didn’t previously exist.
“For Husk, reliable network coverage also enables us to better serve our customers, which is our ultimate mission.”
This project, already 20percent tested, is an alternative for Hotpost, which like most companies in the world is facing the energy crisis exacerbated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Findings by BusinessDay show Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, which boasts of about 48,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) as of 2021, according to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and are managed by Tower Companies (Towercos) is spending billions of naira to keep the stations afloat and ensure no service downtime. These base transceiver stations work with about 44,000 generating sets.
To change this narrative, Hotpost’s founder Morenikeji Aniye, the aim is to digitise rural communities (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and to strengthen their connection to the national electricity grid through clean energy solutions, particularly solar power.
In addition, the two companies said they have started to collaborate in introducing cost-effective energy and digital communications services to off-grid communities.
They informed that already two communities where Husk was operating solar microgrids have also accessed mobile coverage for the first time through Hotspot, stressing that the previous lack of coverage meant an inability for local businesses and households to take advantage of mobile payment and other digital services.
In 2021, at COP 26 in Glasgow, solar mini-grid provider Husk Power Systems announced the construction of 5,000 renewable energy mini-grids to power rural communities and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by 2030.
The company has a portfolio of 130 operational green mini-grids in India, Nigeria and Tanzania.