Cell towers shift to solar, report says

Growth in cellular networks across the globe and into areas without access to electricity will fuel a rapid increase in the number of towers using clean energy, a report released today says.

Clean energy analyst Pike Research says because energy costs are among the largest operating expenses for network operators, it forecasts that "renewable energy will power 4.5 percent of the world’s mobile base stations by 2014, up from just 0.11 percent in 2010."

Pike says in developing countries the percentage will be even higher – with 8 percent of stations in remote regions going renewable by 2014.

“As solar and wind equipment become more cost-effective in the next few years, renewable energy will be an increasingly attractive option for base station power, in combination with batteries and fuel cells,” said Pike managing director Clint Wheelock, in a statement.

Wheelock said analysis also shows the equipment used in cell towers is becoming more energy-efficient, making use of renewable energy even easier.

Picture: Courtesy Pike Research