An off-grid base station PV hybrid that minimizes fuel consumption.
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With the current global advancement in technology, more so in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, the telecommunications sectors have a rapid growth in the number of mobile subscribers expanding from the city centers to remote locations. This expansion has led to high communications traffic countrywide, as a result, the telecom operators expanded their networks (Base Stations) to the remote location where there is either no grid connection or poor grid connection due to limited power and frequent power outages. To maintain the ever-growing number of subscribers, there is a need for a power solution that is optimal to enable the establishment of several Base Stations countrywide. The diesel generator is the first widely deployed conventional source of energy for powering most of the off-grid and poor gird connected Base Stations, but over time the innovation of using them as a primary or backup source has become challenging as a result of their reliability and availability issues, high operation and maintenance costs, as well as their significant impacts on the environment since the social sustainability of BSs, are all critically important. Hence, the use of renewable sources coupled with their sustainable energy supply and storage has made them more favorable than before. However, the main advantage of using a diesel generator is that it can be tailored according to the load demand of the BSs, though the issues of reliability with about 30% of its energy lost as heat, remains a question of interest, and the increasing carbon emissions that remain as the greatest environmental impact has raised concerns and interests on the use of the renewable energy sources. To minimize the challenges caused by the use of diesel generators in Uganda, ATC has installed hybrid systems of the same size to 25% of the 3000 Base Station sites countrywide, but still could not greatly reduce the impacts caused by the use of the diesel generator, especially in site with bigger load size. Therefore, ATC still experiences high fuel costs in running the BSs. Thus, the need for better and optimal PV hybrid systems for every BS such that the overall costs and the environmental concerns are minimized. This project research has exploited the benefits of using the Base Station load profiles and the peak sunshine hours for every BS considered, thus creating different PV hybrid systems for all the BSs in question with considerations in prospects of load growth, in contrast with the existing PV hybrid systems, it clearly shows that there is need to increase the PV size and reduce on the diesel generator size of the PV hybrid systems designed for the BSs because the design focuses on reducing the overall usage of the diesel generators in powering the BSs, with core interests of minimizing both the costs and carbon footprint, and obviously, relatively good savings will be realized.