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India Mulls Mandatory Solar Energy for Tower Back-Up Power Supplies

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The Indian government is reported to be considering mandating solar panels as a back up power supply for base stations replacing the existing diesel based generators more usually found in the tower housing.

The proposal is being finalised by the renewable energy ministry and expects to be put to the cabinet shortly.

Although solar power generated electricity is essentially free and hence the OPEX costs to the operators are substantially lowered - the initial CAPEX costs generally make solar based back-ups uneconomical, even over a very long time frame. It has been feared that raising the up-front costs of towers could slow network expansion into rural areas where back-up power supplies are more important for the reliable operations of the networks.

"This could significantly impact the margins of companies already under pressure due to rising spectrum cost and the cut-throat competition in the sector," an unnamed executive with a large private telco told the Economic Times newspaper.

The government is not keen on providing any subsidy for solar power equipment, but may offer soft loans under refinancing schemes of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency.

On the web: Economic Times

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Tags: solar power  renewable energy  solar  India