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Firms sign $13m deal to power telecom sites with solar

Nigerian company,Paras Energy  sets up solar plant in Chad 

WATT Renewable Corporation, the parent company of First WATT Renewables Limited, has signed a $13 million deal with Empower New Energy to cut diesel used in powering telecommunications infrastructure.

According to THE partners at the signing ceremony in Lagos, this investment will cover powering telecommunication sites, modernising existing sites, and doing turnkey-type work on new sites to help ensure that they stay sustainable.

“To start off, we are looking at modernising over 200 telecom sites within 10 months and part of that plan is to reduce consumption of diesel by 3 million litres on an annual basis,” said Oluwole Eweje, the CEO of WATT Renewable Corporation.

Read also: Shell-funded solar factory targets Chinese imports

According to him, the project requires the employment of 100 people to help build the 200 telecom infrastructure, modernise the telecom infrastructure, and run and operate them efficiently.

“The intent is to ensure that telecom infrastructure is actually sustainable and also cost effective because what tends because what tends to happen is the more expensive the operational costs of telecom mast, for example, in Nigeria, the more expensive the tariff that is being passed on to customers will be.

“So, the more sustainable the telecom mast, the cheaper we can make it, not just build it, but the cheaper we can actually operate it,” he added.

The average retail price of diesel has risen above N1,000/litre from N870 in August. Industry data show that mobile telecommunication operators use an average of 40 million litres of diesel per month to power telecom sites.

Going by the diesel consumption figure and the current price of diesel, the cost of powering telecoms services will be about N40 billion monthly and N480 billion annually.

“This agreement will enable First WATT to solarise with PV panels and batteries, more than 250 towers in Nigeria and the early phases will span for 10 years,” said Terje Osmundsen. “There will be a new phase and then we will be discussing taking part in the future expansion as well.”

According to Osmundsen, this will be enough for First WATT to more than double the number of towers that will be solarised and operated. “Empower New Energy is a Norwegian-based company focused on investing in renewables in Africa.”

Read also: WATT Renewable targets $100mn for solar-powered telecoms towers in Nigeria

WATT provides grid, off-grid, micro-grid, and energy management services and solutions in the telecommunications and financial services industry. With over 10 megawatts installed across the globe, WATT focuses on the implementation of Sustainable Development Projects, concentrating on infrastructure projects.