Mandatory solar for Indian mobile phone towers

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has decided on this move in the hope of cutting down pollution from diesel consumption in the country. Even though this move will mean that the construction costs for the mobile phone service providers like Vodafone, Bharti and Reliance Communications will see a steep increase of approximately 50 percent, the MNRE stands by its decision. Diesel is the fuel of choice at the moment in powering the 350,000 mobile phone towers across India at the moment.

“We are working on a new scheme that will support adoption of greener practices by telecos while rolling out their services for customers,” secretary with the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), Deepak Gupta, told India’s Economic Times. Gupta also said that a test project is being carried out on 600 towers and be in operation by the second half of 2011. The feedback of this test project will see the further developments and funding of the scheme. Each tower is expected to cost about Indian Rupees 40 Lakhs or around 65,000 Euros. The additional solar panel installation will cost about INR16 Lakhs or approximately €25,870.

Capital support may be minimum for this scheme but the government may offer soft loans to companies under the refinancing schemes of the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the aim is to increase solar power capacity in India.