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Pan African Towers marks 3 years of operations, celebrates Nigeria’s Independence Day

Pan African Towers (PAT) is celebrating three years of operations to mark Nigeria’s independence anniversary. Pan African Towers Limited is a telecommunications infrastructure and wireless service facilitator which started full business operations in
Nigeria in 2018.

The company has built relevance in the tower infrastructure market in Africa, having acquired about 1000 towers in Nigeria and 300 in Ghana. One of its missions is to reposition itself in the tower infrastructure market, by expanding its sites and powering them with clean renewable energy.

“Nigeria has come a long way since gaining independence in 1960 and is now the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of over $448.1 billion. Most sectors of the economy are experiencing significant growth especially the telecommunication sector which contributes 14.42 percent to Nigeria’s GDP with over 189 million mobile subscribers, and a broadband penetration rate of 41 percent as of August 2021,” Sumanta Kumar Ray, acting CEO of Pan African Towers, said.

The company added 37 new sites powered by solar energy at the end of Q4 2020 in Kaduna, Kano and Ogun State has entered into a ground-breaking deal with Daystar Power Energy Solutions and Prime Infrastructure and Engineering Services Limited to explore the state of the art technology in the deployment of clean renewable energy to power PAT sites.

According to a report by the telecom infrastructure service provider, the sustainability of the environment is strategically key to its business, hence the need to invest in clean renewable energy sources to power its sites and reduce carbon footprint.

Presently, the company is working with its energy service company (ESCO) partners in deploying 100 sites fully powered by green energy by the end of Q4 2021.
The company’s vision on reduction of carbon emission while providing sustainable network connectivity across Africa is being accomplished because of its partnership with Canadian ESCO firm, Watt Renewables to explore and provide hybrid solar power for PAT sites in 2019.

“Nigeria has always been a fertile ground for Pan African Towers, which is why the company is celebrating three years of business operations in the country in record growth. Pan African Towers is continually dedicated and committed to the sustainability of the environment, hence the decision to explore more ways to power our sites using clean and green renewable energy,” Kumar said.

Although the Nigerian tower company (towerco) market makes it very difficult to rely on the national grid due to the challenges in the electricity sector, uses diesel generators most times to provide network connectivity across the country. This makes them less effective in their service production.

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“This takes a huge chunk of capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX), as relying on the national grid could threaten the network downtime for a lot of towercos as this would mean that they will not be able to provide round the clock services, and so independently generating energy for their sites is a top priority for every towerco in Nigeria,” Kumar said.

According to him, the cost of CAPEX and OPEX towercos allocated to generating power in Nigeria is really huge since most sites in Nigeria use diesel generators. This is totally different for their counterparts in Europe, America and Asia as a lot of these towercos rely on the grid most of the time and only have standby generators to take over in the
event of a power outage which hardly ever occurs.

This reliance on the grid helps these towercos to generate power round the clock for their sites and help them save costs. The funds that should have been consumed from generating independent energy for their sites are saved and re-invested into the business. They do not have the power challenge towercos in Nigeria have, and it gives them ample opportunity to grow organically and inorganically.

“Even though independently generating energy is the business model towercos deploy in Nigeria today, Pan African Towers has always cared more about the sustainability of the environment and that was why we entered into a more than $20.5 million deal with our partners, Watt Renewables a few years ago, to power our sites with alternative green energy sources,” Kumar said.

As of today, PAT has more than 48 sites that have been converted to be powered by clean renewable energy. Before now, these sites used about 1400 litres of diesel per month. Prior to the conversion of these sites, they have been able to save about 43,200 litres of diesel in a month and 518,000 litres in a year.

With these numbers, about 100 metric tons of carbon in a month and about 1200 metric tons of carbon in a year are being saved respectively.

“Pan African Towers is revolutionising the towerco business in Africa which is why we are continually making these investments in renewable energy because we want to ensure that most of our sites are powered by renewable energy sources in the next few years. We also want to reduce our carbon footprint significantly so we can keep promoting a sustainable environment for all,” Kumar said.

This explains the company’s plan to power more than 50 percent of their sites by the end of Q3 2022 by solar energy. According to the acting CEO, this move will help to save about 225,000 litres of diesel monthly by 2022 as well as 500 metric tons of carbon monthly in the same year.

PAT’s variety of investments is a result of its commitment to bridging the telecom infrastructure gap in Nigeria.

“With this huge investment in renewable energy, we will continue to provide 24 hours of steady network connectivity to all our customers and this can help Nigerians use their mobile devices to access life-enhancing services in education, health, agriculture, banking, etc.

This investment in our renewable energy sites is a reassurance of our continuous effort to use cutting-edge technology powered by renewable energy to connect Nigerians all over the country,” he said.

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