The new DC generator has been described as a 'game-changer' thanks to its lower capital and operating costs compared to AC systems, combined with advanced features and superior fuel efficiency.
The cost of powering off-grid cell sites is one of the main factors holding back the roll-out of telecoms services into developing countries. This has a major impact on economic growth in those countries - and on the provision of vital services such as health and education.
More than a million of the world's cell sites run on generators all or part of the time. Most rely on more expensive AC generators, with relatively high fuel consumption, which makes them unpopular with environmental campaigners and this leads to reputational damage for the telecoms companies - as well as higher costs.
A new product launched by Controllis, a UK-based DC generator and control systems manufacturer, has the potential to transform the efficiency of supplying power to off-grid cells.
The Controllis Basic48-10 is a high efficiency 48V, 10KW DC generator designed specifically to power off-grid telecoms sites. It is cheaper both to run and buy than a traditional AC system. It also uses less fuel and so reduces the carbon footprint.
Controllis CEO Simon Albury says:
"DC Generators have been in the market for several years and have proven themselves to offer significant fuel savings. In economic terms the Controllis Basic48-10 is a game changer as both the operational and now the capital expenditure are lower."
He says the breakthrough pricing has been achieved through a series of engineering and technical improvements.
"We manufacture most of the critical components ourselves and have invested a great deal of time in value engineering the total solution. We have reached the point where we can now offer an all DC-based off-grid power system at less than USD 9,000. Yet, despite the lower price, the Basic48-10 has all the advanced features, remote monitoring and class leading efficiency of our more expensive models."
DC generators offer the additional benefit of seamless integration with renewable solutions such as solar and wind power.
"Switching to DC generators is a win-win for operators and the environment," says Mr. Albury. "They cost less to run because they use less fuel and they integrate with alternative energy sources. This saves the operators money while helping meet environmental and corporate social responsibility targets."
The Controllis Basic48-10 is being made available globally from 9 March 2016.