The infrastructure behind wireless technology requires a lot of kilowatts, which costs a lot of money. Reducing the power requirements at cell sites can have a major benefit in lower operating expenses, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint. In fact, with a 40 percent reduction in power use, MNOs can save nearly $1.15B annually at cell sites, according to a report by J. Gold Associates LLC.
“By using the latest technology that reduces the power requirements of the hardware at each cell site, while also improving the software that manages those sites through AI techniques and more modern and granular controls, each site could save as much as 40 percent of its electricity needs,” according to “Powering U.S. Cell Sites- a Sustainability and Cost Analysis.”
Gold estimates that the cost of power per cell site is $1,712 to $7,877 per year depending on class, and the total cost for all cell sites equals $2.9B per year. Reducing those costs would free up a lot of capex dollars. “Indeed, the yearly savings in power costs could pay for as many as 5,100 new or upgraded cell sites per year, based on an average cost for a high performance cell site of $225,000,” the report reads. “Lower cost cell sites could offer even more cost advantage and increase the number of new or upgraded cell sites paid for by the electricity savings alone.”
U.S. government statistics show that household power use in the U.S. is 10,715 KWh annually, so the 40 percent savings from cell site power reduction would power more than 781,000 homes.
“Our analysis indicates that reducing the overall power needed and the associated lowered costs of the power needed offer substantial benefits in reducing carbon footprint, enabling alternative cleaner power,” says J. Gold Associates in the report.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor