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Saft batteries at the heart of hybrid telecom power systems

Saft’s batteries will provide the energy storage at the heart of Eltek Valere’s hybrid telecom power systems that are currently being rolled out to 80 mobile telecom sites across Nigeria.

These co-location sites are being provided for Nigeria’s wireless operators on a fully managed leased basis, and QOS (quality of service) is absolutely vital in this competitive market. The Eltek Valere and Saft hybrid power systems will therefore play a crucial role in ensuring the close to 100% uptime demanded by customers leasing the new sites.

Hybrid power systems are ideally suited for applications in the developing world, where they ensure continuous, energy-efficient operation of off-grid mobile base transceiver tations (BTSs) while delivering major savings in fuel costs and significant reductions in carbon emissions. Eltek Valere is initially targeting its hybrid solution at Nigeria, since it is the most important market in the African continent with over 77 million mobile subscribers (source: Nigerian Communication Commission), and successful trials have already been carried out at sites in Lagos.

Eltek Valere has developed its hybrid power solution for mobile operators in regions where centralised electricity supplies are unstable – or unavailable – and diesel generators are normally needed to run for at least 30% of each day. Rather than take the conventional approach of using the generator as the primary power source, Eltek Valere is using Saft’s batteries as the primary source of power, combined with a simple and low OPEX free cooling unit, with the diesel generator providing the recharge current.

The advantage of this approach is a reduction in operating costs (OPEX) of between 50 to 85% combined with a reduction in carbon emissions of between 48 and 80%, depending on site load, compared with continuous generator operation. The diesel generators only need to run for a fraction of the time, so reducing fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance requirements. The hybrid system offers the additional benefit of the option to use energy from wind turbines or photovoltaic solar panels. Eltek Valere has designed the system as a modular solution so that it can be deployed on new sites or as a retrofit for existing sites.

“The greatest advantage of Saft’s batteries for us is their ability to tolerate both extreme temperatures, eliminating the need for expensive air conditioning units, and heavy cycling without significant degradation in performance or useful life. Even in this very demanding application we expect them to have a lifetime of five years and more, with a payback between 12 and 18 months ,” says Younis Shan, Eltek Valere’s sales director for alternative energy solutions. “Furthermore, they also provide a lower weight for a given quantity of stored energy as well as excellent chargeability.”

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