Over the last decade there has been phenomenal growth in cellular subscriptions across the world. It is estimated that by the end of 2015, there will be more mobile devices in use than people on Earth.
The Ghanaian telecom sector alone has seen a marginal increase of 0.41%, from February 2015’s figure of 31,028,253 to 31,154,420 at the end March 2015. In order to satisfy this mounting demand for good uninterrupted connectivity, the network of telecom towers has to increase to diffuse the regions of the country.
However, as most of the telecom towers sited in the cities and urban areas are not immune to the current dumsor-dumsor, same can be said of those in the rural and other remote regions (mountaintops, forests and jungles, deserts) where the grid is absent.
Consequently, telecom companies have counted on diesel generators as a source of power, but diesel generators run at a lower efficiency level and have become more costly to operate, and produce high CO2 emissions.
Solar Powered Hybrid electrical system is an efficient solution to Diesel Generators as it can reduce operating costs of Diesel Generators and provide an uninterrupted power supply throughout the life of a project.
Let’s examine the economic and environmental impact of using solar PV -hybrid system instead of diesel generators, considering both running and fixed costs.
A PV -hybrid system with a capacity of around 8-10 KW peak power in three different tower locations (names withheld) in Kumasi, where diesel generators is a main source of Power.
In concluding, it is glaringly evident in this brief analysis that there’s an average savings of about 30% in both CAPEX and OPEX considering the per kWh cost over a 25year period.
Even though this analysis was done exclusively on a 24hour/day, the solar pv hybrid system can be used together with the grid or the generator set.
The solar PV hybrid system saves a huge amount of money and greenhouse gas emission. The main advantage of this solar PV hybrid system involving the battery and inverter is its ability to deliver the required amount of energy directly from PV without discharging the battery as far as enough solar radiation on the site.
The resultant effect of this is the increase the batteries lifetime in prevention of frequent start and stop of diesel generator which effectively saves fuel cost of the system. From the result of the simulation it is concluded that PV/Diesel/battery hybrid power system is feasible in terms of economics as well as technically.
It has also less greenhouse gas emission and therefore reduces negative externality of diesel generator.
Again, I wish to emphasize that the PV solar hybrid systems as analyzed for these towers can be used very effectively and efficiently during all days in the year.
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