Renewable Towers: Africa’s Expedition to Connectivity

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GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company founded in 2010, that finances all its own projects, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa, reported Bloomberg Technology. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world, even though it’s home to half of the world’s 1.2 billion people, leaving households as well as businesses without reliable electricity.

According to GreenWish founder and CEO Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, “We reduce the total cost of power by 30 percent. Smaller towers can run entirely on solar and battery, and larger ones reduce their diesel use by at least 60 percent.” 

With their hybrid approach of combining solar panels with a battery and a diesel generator, GreenWish says it can provide reliable off-grid connectivity to the more than 240,000 towers throughout Africa. Since the Sub-Saharan area has leapfrogged traditional fixed-line infrastructure and moved directly to mobile and internet services within just a few years, this different, and green approach, can bring more affordable service to the broader population.

GreenWish plans to build out more “green” towers,  partnering with Orange SA and constructing 250 towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year. It’s aiming to reach 3,000 towers across several countries by 2018 and 10,000 by 2020, Aubin-Kalaidjian said.

Bloomberg Technology reported that GreenWish first focused on renewable energy projects on the grid and has built a 27-megawatt solar plant in Senegal. It has a pipeline to install another 350 megawatts in West Africa. Aubin-Kalaidjian is in discussions with other telecommunication companies in Africa, planning to expand operations to Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and the Ivory Coast. According to Aubin-Kalaidjian, GreenWish’s mission is to invest in “projects with a positive impact, socially and environmentally.”

August 23, 2017     

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