Celtel, Uganda, successfully reduces energy consumption.
Ericsson helps Celtel to meet its objectives of reducing costs and growing coverage in Uganda, with a hybrid energy solution for diesel and battery.
The telecommunications market in Uganda has seen huge growth recently and in the last four years, Celtel, Uganda, has seen its subscriber numbers climb steadily. As power is un-reliable or non-existent in some areas, around 50 percent of radio base stations in Uganda run continuously on diesel generators. Usually, these sites are driven by two diesel generators which operate alternately, but this can be costly in terms of diesel and site visits for re-fuelling and maintenance. Celtel recognized that a hybrid power solution could significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency and approached Ericsson to develop a hybrid energy solution for diesel and batteries.
Ericsson's solution involves replacing one of the generators with a special battery bank. Kent Westergren, Strategic Product Manager, Site Solutions, Ericsson, explains: "We use batteries to store energy and this stored energy means the diesel generator can be switched off at regular intervals. With our hybrid energy solution for diesel and batteries, the diesel can be switched off for such a long time that operators can achieve close to 50/50 operation. If they operate only 50 percent of the time, they save 50 percent on fuel costs. There is also a positive environmental impact. The diesel reduction for a typical site is 10 000 liters annually and one liter of diesel emits 2.68 kg of carbon dioxide."
The solution includes Ericsson's outdoor cabinet, which has an inbuilt power/energy system, with the possibility to set parameters and manage the batteries' charge and discharge levels. Thanks to this, the lifetime of the batteries is significantly extended. The Ericsson outdoor cabinets also have the advantage of working in a higher temperature range, making air-conditioners unnecessary as the batteries are stored separately with low power electronic cooling. This gives further fuel savings and the diesel generator does not have to be over-dimensioned to manage the peak load when the air conditioning begins.
As a result of this solution, Celtel has been able to significantly reduce opex while, at the same time, optimizing network performance. Siyabonga Zulu, Operations Director, Celtel, Uganda, explains the benefits: "The hybrid solution from Ericsson is the perfect choice for us. The sites now running in this way are consuming 45 percent less diesel, so there are immediate savings in terms of fuel costs and re-fuelling visits. We can also monitor the sites remotely and the solution is easy to install and configure." As well as using the solution for new deployments, Celtel is also converting existing offenergy grid sites in Uganda. It is also rolling out the hybrid energy solution in its networks in Sierra Leone, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Customer: Celtel, Uganda