Of the world’s 6.8 billion people only 4 billion are already using mobile phones. The next 2 billion mobile phone users will come from rural areas, largely in developing countries, and tapping this rural developing market will require new and different infrastructure. While infrastructure for very low cost coverage solutions is nearing readiness, a key challenge is achieving mobile voice coverage in rural areas without reliable power.
In total, the number of sites deployed with renewable power will grow by an order of magnitude over the next decade. While about 1400 sites will be outfitted with some form of renewable energy this year, almost 40,000 sites will use renewable energy in 2020
Over 99% of cell sites worldwide are deployed with diesel generators as a backup or as the primary source of electrical power. But the operating expense involved in keeping the diesel fuel flowing can be prohibitive, especially in light of increasingly remote base station sites and rising theft of diesel fuel and generators.