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India’s mobile phone firms turn to green power

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Thanks to India’s erratic power supplies, over 60% of telecom masts currently rely on diesel generators, says the BBC’s Shilpa Kannan

Nearly a billion people use mobile phones in India and a network of broadcast masts helps to keep them talking.

But keeping these towers working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, consumes a lot of energy.

Towers that are located in urban areas are usually connected to the main grid to get electricity.

But most locations in India do not get a continuous or even good quality grid supply, and more than 60% of the towers depend on diesel-powered generators.

Each mast requires about the same amount of energy as the average urban household.

But with 400,000 across the country – and many more planned – the total is huge, and it is perhaps no surprise that India is asking if they can switch to cleaner energy.

Going hybrid

The telecom industry one of India’s largest consumers of diesel fuel at nearly two billion litres every year, which is both expensive and polluting.

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