TECHNO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF STAND ALONE SOLAR PV SYSTEMS FOR REMOTE BASE STATIONS IN NIGERIA. A CASE STUDY AT KUJE MTN CELL SITE

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ABSTRACT

The major problems of stand-alone solar PV systems are initial cost of installations. This  project  presents techno-economic analysis of stand-alone solar PV systems for remote base stations in Nigeria. In this PGD project work, the use of solar PV technology as a cost effective source of power for cellular base stations in remote or hilly areas, far off the national grid, is reviewed. Climate information data was obtained. Study of various PV system technology and configuration was done. RETScreen software is used to determine the technical and financial availability of the PV system. The study shows that even though the initial investment in solar PV is higher than conventional diesel engines, overtime it becomes more cost efficient. The NPV is positive which indicates a potentially feasible project. The Benefit-Cost (B-C) ratio is greater than 1 indicating a profitable project and an equity            payback of 4.9            years.

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

      Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) have become an important part oftoday’s global economy. ICT infrastructural development in Nigeria is progressing comparatively faster to other low income countries (Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, 2016).The power consumption of wireless access networks has become a major economic and environmental issue. Providing dedicated power supply for base stations is one of the major issues for mobile communication system. In particular, base stations cause more than 65% of the operator’s power consumption (Ayang A, 2016), which makes the design of base station a key element for determining both the environmental impact of wireless networking and the operational expenditure.

      Currently base stations depend mainly on the national grid, with diesel generators as backups, for its power requirement. In some remote and hilly areas where there are no grid supplied electricity, base stations are usually powered with diesel fuelled generators since lengthy grid extensions may not be cost effective. In addition to high fuel delivery and consumption costs (Costs about 1.4m litres of diesel daily at ₦200per litre. Maintenance of the generators can also be expensive in terms of parts and labour time working on the unit. There are also concerns about environmental pollution using diesel generators.  Fixed-line and mobile telecommunications have a positive and significant impact on growth after penetration rates reach a certain critical mass. The thresholds are identified using non parametric methods. Penetration rates of between 20% and 30% for telephones and 5% for internet usage trigger increasing returns.(Evelyn, Kiril, Brunos, Sergi, 2015).This growth in the sector has meant a massive investment in telecommunication infrastructure from telecom companiessuch as Visa-fone, Glo, 9Mobile, MTN, Airtel, Spectranet, etc. Hundredsof Base Stations have been installed all over the country.

        Photovoltaic technology has the ability to convert solar energy into electricity consuming no fossil fuels, using no moving parts, creating no pollution and noise, and lasting for years with little maintenance. The environmental, noise, reliability and power availability benefits of the PV system make it an attractive option. Nigeria, being about 1008 km to the equator, is endowed with enormous solar energy resource spread across the entire country. Daily solar radiation level ranges from 5 kWh/ to 6 kWh/ . The annual sunshine duration ranges between 2200 to 3000 hours offering very high potential for grid connected and off grid applications (Nigerian Meteorological Agency, 2016).

        Before the actual deployment of the PV system to the base station, it is very important to get an estimate of the number of photovoltaic (PV) cells, size of inverters and batteries required  and  also  the  cost  of  production  of  energy  per  unit.  Software such as RETScreen enables to simulation of cost efficient deployable solar powered base stations.

1.2Statement of the Research Problem

The power consumption of wireless access networks has become a major economic and environmental issue. Providing dedicated power supply for base stations is one of the major issues for mobile communication system. In particular, base stations cause more than 65% of the operator’s power consumption (Ayang, 2016), which makes the design of base station a key element for determining both the environmental impact of wireless networking and the operational expenditure.

        Currently base stations depend mainly on the national grid, with diesel generators as backups, for its power requirement. In some remote and hilly areas where there are no grid supplied electricity, base stations are usually powered with diesel fuelled generators since lengthy grid extensions may not be cost effective. In addition to high fuel delivery and consumption costs (Costs about 1.4million litres of diesel daily at ₦200 per litre). Maintenance of the generators can also be expensive in terms of parts and labour time working on the unit. There also concerns about environmental pollution        using    diesel generators.

TECHNO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF STAND ALONE SOLAR PV SYSTEMS FOR REMOTE BASE STATIONS IN NIGERIA. A CASE STUDY AT KUJE MTN CELL SITE