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Expanding green energy supply for telecommunication towers

Mobile telecommunication is part and parcel of everyday life worldwide. Reliable online connections are not possible without the necessary infrastructure. For this reason, Lebanese firm IPT Powertech Group SAL (IPT) is investing in decentralised energy solutions for mobile network operators in Africa and the Middle East. It operates more than 30,000 towers from different providers in eleven countries in Africa and the Middle East. In many developing countries, these are not connected to the public power grid but are supplied directly with electricity via systems installed at the tower, so far usually from diesel generators.

Going forward, IPT will use more solar power and powerful batteries. The resulting production surpluses are stored so that green energy is available for use at any time of day. In total, it is expected that around 40% of the energy required to date and about 115,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year will be saved as a result.

To this end, the company is acquiring the plants, converting them and then selling the electricity to mobile providers under long-term contracts. Currently, the company already operates around 4,500 telecommunication towers according to the TESCO (Telecom Energy Service Company) model.

DEG provided the company with a long-term loan totalling EUR 25 million earmarked for conversion of additional masts. Further investors are Proparco and Finnfund, which provided USD 20 and USD 10 million respectively; the loan from the EDFI member institutions was syndicated by DEG. At present IPT employs about 4,500 staff, with 2,000 further direct and indirect jobs being created or secured as a result of the expansion.