India‘s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is poised to mandate that telecom operators power their cellphone towers with solar panels instead of the diesel generators that are currently used. This may not seem like such a big deal until you think about the numbers – India has approximately 500 million mobile phone subscribers (more than the population of any country except China) and still continues to be one of the two fastest growing telecom markets. That means that even more cellphone towers are going to be set up in the near future. According to Cleantechnica, the switch over to solar power translates to a reduction of 5 million tons of CO2 emissions as well as a savings of $1.4 billion!
To put the figures into more perspective, India has an excess of 250,000 cellphone towers which consume 3-5 kilowatts power each. These towers consume about 2 billion liters (or about 530 million gallons) of diesel annually. Plus, since cellphone towers use power continuously with no breaks, they’re actually pretty energy intensive.
The Indian Ministry is looking to tie this project into India’s National Solar Mission which aims to set up 20,000MW of solar power capacity by 2022.