Once solar power was a corporate “virtue-signaling” project but with changes in cost and reliability, it is now making a pitch to replace the diesel generators that currently dominate the market. Diesel generators come with five cost and operating disadvantages:
- The cost of diesel fuel is significant, and the cost of delivery to remote sites make diesel fuel more than 50% of the total operating expense for every remote tower.
- The poor reliability of diesel generators is such that two generators must be installed at each tower to approach the continuous energy requirement.
- The generators require that oil and filters be changed every 250 hours, which means a visit to the remote sites every 10 days. The entire generator is typically replaced or rebuilt every 18 to 24 months.
- Carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases created with the burning of diesel fuel for electricity at telecom towers are now understood to represent a significant part of the cause of climate change.
- Diesel fuel often gets stolen at multiple points in the supply chain. Theft was been estimated as high as 30% by many tower companies. Significant expense and effort to curtail theft have not stopped the problem.
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