The Hindu has reported that India’s Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy along with the Union Ministry of Telecommunications is working on converting the country’s mobile phone towers from diesel generation to solar power.
There is a push within the Indian government to generate energy from the sun, embodied in India’s National Solar Mission. The Minister was quoted as saying: “We are going to generate within the first three years 1,300 MW of solar energy with 1,100 grid connected and 200 non-grid connected. By 2022, we should have 20,000 MW of solar power”.
The mechanism for using solar panels for mobile phone towers is currently being worked out and subsidies for the proposed initiative are also being developed. The Indian government is likely to come out with a mandate that would require telecom operators to make the transformation.
According to CleanTechnica.com there are more than 500 million mobile phone subscribers in India serviced through 250,000 towers. The number of subscribers, and towers, is expected to double by 2015.
CleanTechnica has calculated that using solar powered cell phone towers would eliminate five million tons of CO2 emissions a year and save $1.4bn annually.