Off-grid mobile telecommunications base station market to grow

Driven by rising energy costs and government policy initiatives, the market for “green base stations” for mobile telecommunications networks is gaining significant traction.

These base transceiver stations, which use a combination of renewable energy, battery, and fuel cell technologies, could become much more prevalent within 10 years, especially for off-grid sites where diesel generators have become the standard source of power.

According to a recent report from Navigant Research, revenue from off-grid power for mobile base stations will reach $10.5 billion by 2020, under a base forecast scenario.

“Diesel generators, which are by far the most common energy source for remote base stations today, present a number of economic, logistical, and environmental challenges,” says Kerry-Ann Adamson, research director with Navigant Research. “This market is small when compared with to grid-tied base stations, but the level of market pain is high, and the resulting growth will be rapid.”

That growth will be achievable only if companies can produce systems, at volume, that work in the local environment, according to the report. Often this means installing systems that rely on a combination of technologies to provide power, such as renewable energy plus a backup battery, or renewable energy plus a battery plus a fuel cell that provides trickle-charging to the battery, extending the runtime of the battery.

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