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Energy Services Companies forecast to spend $1.8bn upgrading over 100,000 cell sites to hybrid and renewable energy by 2024

A new market study released this week by TowerXchange forecasts that a new breed of telecom energy services companies (ESCOs) will spend $1.8bn deploying 200MW of distributed generation – much of it renewable – to modernise 108,566 cell sites in the next four years.

Telecom ESCOs deploy their own capital to upgrade the energy equipment at cell sites, then sell energy back to the cell site owner for a monthly fee. ESCOs first appeared in telecom around a decade ago and, between them, 24 pioneering ESCOs already operate the power systems at 49,316 cell sites.

ESCO Market Forecast for Growth

ESCOs are achieving challenging performance objectives often requiring 99.95% cell site uptime – the equivalent of just 14 minutes downtime per month. ESCOs regularly report 99.99% even 100% uptime, whilst also reducing energy costs and carbon footprints by 15-70%, depending on operating conditions.

Mobile Network Operators and tower companies are increasingly turning to ESCOs to reduce rising energy costs, to improve uptime, and to enhance both communities and the environment. A substantial pipeline of new opportunities for ESCOs, including RFPs from Ethio Telecom, Etisalat, MTN, Orange, Safaricom and Vodacom, is attracting more capital into the sector.

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