Schneider Electric looks to power Zambian cell towers


Zambian rural areas as well as mobile phone base stations not connected to the national grid are set to get a solar power boost from Schneider Electric.

The company is introducing technology to help curb Zambia’s persistent power outages to help mobile operators and the financial sector run data centres and their networks.
Sello Moima, Schneider Electric director for Southern Africa, said the company’s solar power technology is expected to help drive growth of Zambia’s information and communications technology (ICT) and financial sectors.

He said Schneider in Zambia is introducing its ‘Villasol’ solution: a solar-powered micro off-grid facility that provides decentralised rural electrification.
According to Moima, the solution consists in photovoltaic panels, a battery bank and a battery charging station that enables communal charging system and supplies energy to schools, health centres, water supply facilities and public lighting for around 100 households.

Moima said the company also plans to establish an entity called Schneider Electric Zambia to meet Zambia’s energy needs.
“Schneider Electric will give access to electricity to Zambians without depending on the access to the national grid. We are looking at how we can make people to have energy and how we can make people to have lights. We are looking at the rural area and see how we can connect them without connecting to the national grid,” Moima said.

Through its Villasol solution, Moima said the company plans to help Zambian entrepreneurs in the energy sector.
As in many countries in Africa, Zambia is faced by a critical shortage of power resulting in persistent power outages while many rural areas remain unconnected to the national grid.
Last week, Zambia’s minister of Communications Yamfwa Mukanga said the Zambian government wants to embark on a countrywide installation of mobile communication towers in order to improve communication capacity in rural areas as well.

However, he said lack of power from the national grid remains a challenge to achieving the plan.