Ericsson's new hybrid energy solution for diesel and batteries has been selected by Celtel Uganda. The solution significantly reduces energy consumption in mobile networks outside the electricity grid, cutting network operating costs by up to 50 percent. Celtel Uganda is the first operator to install this solution.
Celtel in Uganda is now converting all diesel-driven radio base station (RBS) sites outside the power grid to Ericsson's new hybrid energy solution, which works together with all of Ericsson's outdoor RBS cabinets. More than 100 sites have been converted to date. A typical site consumes approximately 20,000 liters of diesel annually and this new solution reduces the need for fuel by 50 percent. With additional savings resulting from fewer fuel deliveries being made and from less maintenance being carried out, the total cost of ownership per site is lowered still further.
Around 50 percent of all RBS sites in Uganda are running on diesel continuously. Many high-growth markets are dependent on diesel as their main energy source, particularly where the electricity supply is unreliable or nonexistent, such as in rural areas.
Traditional off-grid diesel solutions consist of two diesel generators working alternately. With the new hybrid energy solution, one of these diesel generators is replaced by a battery bank with specially designed batteries that can handle a large amount of charges and discharges.
Ericsson's hybrid energy solution is a self-contained power solution that enables a parameter setting for the batteries' optimal charging and discharging levels, thereby extending the lifetime of the battery and the generator.
Siyabonga Zulu, Operations Director, Celtel, Uganda says: "We are rolling out Ericsson's hybrid solution in all our Ugandan operations. This new solution offers a more powerful battery bank in a cabinet with low-power cooling, and allows us to reduce our diesel expenses by 50 percent. The savings are dramatic, and will allow us to extend our network cost-effectively, providing coverage to people who have never before had access."
Strategic product manager for Site Solutions at Ericsson, Kent Westergren, says: "The customized solution has been positively received in the market as it significantly cuts operational expenses while providing an opportunity to reduce the network's environmental footprint. Often a site is too large to be economically viable for a purely solar power solution, so this solution is an excellent choice when an operator wants to cut costs or go green."
Ericsson's hybrid energy solution for diesel and batteries is the latest in a series of energy optimization innovations that the company is driving to help reduce total cost of ownership, while at the same time improving the environmental performance of mobile network growth worldwide.
In 2006 Ericsson reduced the power consumption of its latest generation of WCDMA base stations by 35 percent, and has pioneered the introduction of many alternative energy sources such as solar power and biofuels in the telecom sector, to make mobile telephony economically and environmentally sustainable in emerging markets.