Africa’s Telecoms turn to Tesla batteries as power outages continue
Africa’s leading solar energy solutions provider, Distribution Power Africa (DPA), has completed rolling out 500 Tesla batteries to telecommunications companies in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa rely on hydro-electricity but there have been power shortages as water levels are dropping in most of the dams due to persistent droughts.
In July 2019, there was a network blackout that heavily affected mobile money in Zimbabwe after the southern African nation’s biggest telecom operator, Econet Wireless’s generators at its operations centre failed to kick in following a Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority power outage.
In South Africa, power utility company, Eskom, recently announced stage two load shedding where power outages are going for up to four hours a day.
Telecom operators have been turning to renewable energy that offer offgrid power solutions to keep themselves in business. “We have rolled out over 500 Tesla batteries not only to telecom towers, but to commercial offices as well.
These include sites in Zimbabwe telecom towers, and some commercial offices including our own DPA South Africa and Zimbabwe offices,” Divyajeet Mahajan, DPA Zimbabwe chief executive officer told Biztech Africa.
The powerwall from the California based automaker, Tesla, produces 13.5 kilowatt-hour of energy per unit and can operate at a continuous power output of 5 kilowatt.
One Powerwall can power a telecom site for up to five hours depending on the site load and traffic and depending on how often they are cycled they have a lifetime of up to 15 years, according to DPA, a subsidiary of the Econet Group of Companies owned by Zimbabwe’s telecom giant Strive Masiyiwa.
Mahajan said Tesla batteries are already giving DPA’s telecoms customers up to 50 percent backup which will result in significant financial savings on operational costs for customers and cut reliance on diesel-run generators by up to 85 percent.
He said despite the Coronavirus pandemic having caused lockdowns, DPA has constructed a number of sizeable customer projects this year, with some reputable names in Zimbabwe amongst these being Total, Delta, Stanbic, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and Schweppes Beitbridge.
“DPA (is) about to complete (its) largest project, a 1.8 megawatt plant in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands, which is scheduled to be unveiled at the end of August,” said Mahajan.
DPA has also current telecom projects that include power for Econet telecom towers in Zimbabwe and Liquid Telecoms sites in the Democtric Republic of Congo.