Nigeria could be on a path to sustainable growth and have one of the best telecom services in the world, if proper investment is geared towards building renewable sources of energy to power the country’s telecom infrastructure, Nigeria CommunicaionsWeek can now report.
Marcel Hochet, president of the Nigeria-France Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Schneider Electric Nigeria stated that the share size of Nigeria and the huge potential of abundant sun energy available all year round could make this happen.
Nigeria which has over 110 million connected mobile telephone lines also has one of the worst mobile experiences in the continent.
Operators spend huge chunks of their earnings on diesel to power BTS sites spread over the vast network over one million square kilometers. Several of the big operators have muted the idea of investing in alternative sources of energy to power their BTS sites.
In fact, Airtel Nigeria recently announced it has successfully converted about 250 of its BTS sites with green energy in a pioneering pilot project. MTN Nigeria is investing in the conversion of its BTS sites from diesel to clean renewable energy option.
Hochet stated that Nigeria is blessed with tropical climate and extracting renewable energy from the sun would be a better and cheaper option to power the BTS which would yield improved telecom quality of service.
He also stated that Schneider’s energy solutions are geared towards helping to save ICT customers ranging from mobile operators, ISPs or fixed wireless/fixed wired operators about 70 per cent on call data centre operations.
The company recently demonstrated the renewable energy efficiency option by embarking on installation of solar electric projects in rural communities in Nigeria. Hochet said the corporate social responsibility (CSR) project was to show the effectiveness of the green energy and a demonstration of faith in Nigeria.
Professor Abubakar Sani Sambo, Director General of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), noted that one per cent of the country’s vast land mass is enough to generate 600, 000 megawatts of electricity for the nation’s notorious power supply system.
The ECN is a government agency set up to carry out overall energy sector planning and policy implementation, promote the diversification of the energy resources through the development and optimal utilization of all, including the introduction of new and alternative Energy resources like Solar, Wind, Biomass and Nuclear Energy.
He noted that the investment cost of the solar modules was very high, but said the life span of the solar panel could be as long as 25 years.
Poor performance of the mobile operators in Nigeria set them at variance with the regulatory body, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), early in the year which imposed fines of about N1.17 billion for not meeting key performance indicators (KPI) standard.
The NCC has set two per cent call drop rate and 98 per cent completion rate as threshold for GSM operators in the country. It also set two per cent call drop rate and a 96 per cent call completion rate for the CDMA operators.