Helios Towers Africa (HTA) has invested almost US$40 million in improving its environmental credentials by installing a remote monitoring system and energy storage.
The initiative won HTA a prestigious award at the AfricaCom 2012 industry conference for “Best Network Improvement” and minimises their need for generators without compromising the company’s delivery of uptime on its sites.
This means diesel consumption is reduced considerably as well as CO2 emissions through the control and battery systems that store enough energy to power a base station site for 12 hours maximum.
“All towers need diesel generators since grid power is often unreliable and many rural communities in Africa have limited to no access,” explained Tony Pretorius, Chief Technical Officer of HTA.
“However, the generators are often costly to operate and in many cases, unaffordable for rural communities. They are also noisy, require constant monitoring and emit significant amounts of gases during combustion.”
Pretorius added: “For every litre of diesel over 2.6 kilograms of CO2 is emitted. We have already begun to reduce our CO2 emissions by more than a tonne per month per site which fits in with our wider corporate responsibility programme.”
“Our new and award-winning energy storage systems drive down operational costs enabling HTA to provide a better, more cost effective service and enable further expansion into Africa’s rural communities,” said Chuck Green, Chief Executive of HTA.
Green added the system is able to accept energy sources ranging from solar to wind as well more traditional sources such as diesel.
“Since generators typically require fuel, servicing and replacement, involving significant in house and third party resources, which in turn have their own operational costs and implications, HTA has also implemented a remote monitoring service across its network and has the capacity to roll out its hybrid power system across its African asset base,” said Green.
HTA currently operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Tanzania with a sister company in Nigeria.