Connecting the Unconnected

Telecom Solutions
energy, innovation

Communication is the most valuable tool in the world today. With digital and technological trends, information can travel thousands of miles per millisecond, helping individuals, businesses, and world economies benefit from real-time connection, turning the world into a global village. But as valuable a tool as this is, there are still several million people across emerging markets and Africa who have little or no access to digitised communication for personal, business or socio-economic purposes.

These are mostly rural and ultra rural communities where access to digital technology is next to impossible due to the cost-benefit disparities in the regions. The cost of setting up telecommunication and internet infrastructure in these areas is higher than the setup cost in the urban centres, which had been the focus of Mobile Network Operators for obvious reasons. According to GSMA, about 750 million people worldwide do not have access to mobile network coverage, and 3.5 billion people worldwide do not have internet connectivity. In Nigeria, over 20 million citizens have limited or no mobile coverage at all.

 “Solving the challenge of providing reliable and low-cost off-grid power is critical to the roll-out of mobile broadband as diesel generators represent a considerable proportion of operators’ capital and operational expenditure, which prevents them from extending coverage to rural areas.” – GSMA 2019 Report.

One major constraint to socio-economic growth in rural communities in Nigeria is the lack of internet coverage and mobile connectivity as well as electricity and power supply. Individuals and businesses have turned to the use of alternative power supplies. But these also have their hindrances as unexpected hikes in fuel price, scarcity, theft, and regular maintenance can accrue more expenses. This is in addition to the need to change active use generators almost every 4 years.

Conventional telecommunication site with excessive pollution and escalating operating expenses

 High operating expenses of running diesel generators for Nigerian businesses including telecom towers is not sustainable, it has led several businesses down the rabbit hole. Backup power generation on average in the country runs for about 12 hours daily, 24 hours continuous run hours daily for more than 30,000 telecom towers across Nigeria . translates to a continuous carbon emission to the atmosphere. An off-grid site consumes nearly 13,000 liters of diesel every year and adds nearly 35 metric tons of CO2 emissions to the environment. The IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021 estimates that CO2 emissions will increase by almost 5% this year to 33 billion tonnes.

RuralBase, plug n play off-grid Solar, bridging the African urban-rural connectivity gap.

 Alternative renewable energy could play a major role in reforming the energy mix and boosting access to electricity across the country. Due to our tremendous hydro, solar, wind and bioenergy resources, we have the capacity to generate enough energy to power rural telephony and off-grid towers. Solar energy is one of the most widely available sources of renewable energy and the most suited for distributed power to where it is needed. It is therefore suited for powering telecomm towers.

Solar PV + lithium batteries are a more affordable substitute to fossil fuels and do not negatively impact the environment, operating expenses and frequency of maintenance visit is reduced to the barest minimum With RuralBase, Arnergy has edged the supply chain risk and operational risk for African Rural towerco and MNOs whose rollout plan had seen series of delay due to COVID-19 induced elongated transhipment and incessant cases of equipment being sourced from different countries.

The first set of cell tower deployments in Nigeria were commissioned almost 20 years ago, hence, the unconnected rural population should not be deprived any longer, an innovative supply chain with local intelligence that supports the aggressive rollout of the Mobile Network Operators should be a no brainer.


Leading mobile network operators like MTN have actively worked towards incorporating a renewable-only approach as it rolls out new sites.

Our industry-renowned CHASE framework has made significant progress in closing the coverage gaps across our markets as a result of our rapid rural rollout programme (R3). Full network coverage within Nigeria remains a challenge; more than 20 million Nigerians live in areas with limited or no coverage. Through MTN Nigeria’s rural telephony programme – which began in 2020 – we intend to roll out 3 000 rural connectivity sites by 2022. This will be possible only through collaboration with technology partners and the use of low-cost connectivity solutions. In 2020, MTN Nigeria rolled out 432 rural connectivity sites to bridge the urban-rural connectivity gap.” – MTN SD 2020 Report

MTN’s participation in the GSMA-led initiative for climate action has further informed their approach and action on climate change in 2020. They have through their clean-tech team found alternative energy solutions to power their off-grid and bad-grid towers. Upon deployment of these solutions for off-grid and bad-grid towers, it is expected that there will be a 47% reduction in the organisation’s absolute emissions by 2030. This while at the same time providing network coverage to more rural communities by deploying more towers. With the reduced cost of deployment and management, there is tremendous potential Accelerating digital inclusion to help tackle important and urgent economic, social climate and environmental challenges can be the deal-breaker. As more and more states and NGOs are working hard towards creating rural smart communities to enable socio-economic development, the use of alternative renewable energy like solar and wind have become more urgent. Arnergy breaks the reliable electricity barrier to rural telephony by deploying reliable solar energy solutions to power telecom base stations. Solar systems require minimal maintenance and have little running costs making them a more sustainable alternative to power rural telephony sites than generators. Arnergy Solar uses lithium-ion batteries as opposed to the lead-acid batteries used by most solar energy companies, making them last longer and draw even more energy from the sun.

Ground/Pole Mount System

This system was developed in-house by Arnergy, with the sole mission to effectively address the energy needs of electronic communication devices deployed to remote areas across the country in a very cost and energy-efficient manner.

Case Study I: North-Central Region, Nassarawa State

Telecom Rural Base Stations

The site is powering a Multinational Tier One Mobile Network Operator. This is a ground/pole mount system, also a smart off-grid solution.

Capacity: 3.51kWp Solar, 5.4kWh of storage system with a 48V DC output and 220V AC output respectively..

Equipment powered: The VSAT, Modem, wireless equipment, and antennas.

Case Study II: South-South Region, Bayelsa State

 The site is powering a Multinational Tier One Mobile Network Operator. Installation Started and was completed on the 5th February 2021. The system deployed is a smart off-grid solution.

Capacity: 2.34kWp Solar, 5.4kWh of storage system with a DC output of 24V and 48V respectively.

Equipment powered: The VSAT, Modem, wireless equipment, and antennas.

 New approaches to generating power supply either for powering rural telephony or for powering agribusinesses and manufacturing needs to be at the forefront of innovation. Arnergy has made great strides in the solar energy sector with help from investors like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, ElectriFI and All On. These investments have helped in raising financing for expanding the company’s customer base and deploying up to 14 MW of photovoltaic solar panels and 35 MWh of storage. Arnergy continues to carry out research on innovative ways to tackle rural electrification, socio-economic and climate change issues in Nigeria.

Solar Power + Connectivity

“Education and empowerment lie at the heart of our community engagement. We seek to strengthen economic opportunities by contributing to the development of business and enterprise” – IHS

The primary concern around rural electrification and energy access projects has been the ability for rural community members to properly utilise the electricity generated and internet coverage for productive use.

Provision of these amenities launch rural communities into the digital age, improving their lives, living conditions and livelihood in more ways than can be quantified. Farmers in rural communities can use smartphones to access weather reports which help them plan their planting and harvesting cycles year-round. “Communication was very difficult with other parts of the country and the outside world but now, we can reach the whole world via mobile calls and we finally have good internet access. It’s not just me but the farmers are also able to reach customers in other states and they can now buy and sell their goods directly and online.” – Kephas Mwakyoga, Community Spokesperson.” Pupils in rural community schools now have access to information and helpful study materials from all over the globe. Improving learning and providing access to educational opportunities was previously only dreamt about. This gives them a fighting chance for success and a better future. “Our schools do not have all the textbooks required, but that is no longer a hindrance. These children are smart, so they go on the internet to read and do assignments. They had a competition with students from some of the big schools and they won. Because they had done the research needed.” – Kephas Mwakyoga, Community Spokesperson

RuralBase for TelCos

Digitising rural communities goes beyond just access to mobile network coverage and internet coverage and digs deep into innovative ways to improve the standard of living as well as encouraging innovation in business and socio-economic growth.

Our mission at Arnergy Solar

At Arnergy Solar, we strive to make sure everyone is connected, rural communities can harness business opportunities and socio-economic growth is guaranteed for even the hardest to reach regions in the country.

Our biggest challenge is the intermittency of power, the unreliable national grid and the energy deficit across the value chain. We intend to solve this problem by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy solutions. Arnergy is on track to deploy an excess of 100 megawatts (MW) installed PV capacity delivering 20,000 of her 5kW modular systems to residential homes and businesses across impact sectors including Healthcare, Education, Hospitality, Agribusiness and Real Estate by 2023.

In a country expected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050, Arnergy plans to be at the forefront of economic development through the deployment of our solar solutions to impact businesses across the country.

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