DPA and Econet to reduce carbon footprint through use of solar batteries

ZIMBABWE – Distributed Power Africa (DPA), a leading renewable energy solutions company, is targeting to reduce Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s diesel consumption by 80% through the use of solar batteries.

Several businesses in Africa have been relying on fossil fuels to sustain their operations due to erratic power suppliers, however, environmental and sustainability concerns, along with rising fuel prices, have led many companies to turn to clean and renewable energy.

DPA, which was recently recognised by TowerXchange,  a thought leader in the power industry as a leading energy service company in Africa, has been increasing its provision of energy security for Econet base stations and for many commercial and industrial users, through lithium-ion battery technology.

Norman Moyo, DPA’s chief executive, said the Tesla Powerwall rollout had helped Econet’s ongoing diesel reduction programme, with the batteries extending the network operator’s energy security by an additional 50% battery run time.

“We are impressed with the performance of Tesla Powerwall as it addresses the customers’ power backup requirements with significant cost savings.  We look forward to rolling out other cost-effective initiatives in the energy security spectrum,” Moyo said.

Along with lithium-ion battery technology, DPA offers customers integration of their existing diesel generators to grid-tied solar for added energy security and by maximizing on solar during the day, the diesel generator integration technology allows customers to also reduce fuel costs by up to 40%.

Kezito Makuni, Econet’s Chief Operating Officer, said the company was leveraging the latest technologies and service partners to drive business sustainability through greater energy efficiencies, low carbon emissions, risk reduction and cost control.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint to less than 50% by 2030 through improved energy efficiencies, renewable energy supplies, reduction in our network waste, as well as rigorous environmental criteria when we select our suppliers,” said Makuni, adding that Econet would also enable its customers to reduce their carbon footprint through the use of their services, including the Internet of Things (IoT).

In 2020, Econet used over three million litres of diesel to operate optimally during the peak of load shedding, resulting in the group incurring high operating costs from fuel costs and from constantly servicing the diesel generators as well as running an extensive fleet of fuel-refilling tankers to ensure network availability and uptime remained at an acceptable level.

Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator is one of the first major telecommunications operators in the world to develop science-based targets that follow the pathway recently developed for the information and communication technology sector.

The pathway, agreed between the International Telecommunications Union and the GSMA among other entities, sets out specific emission-reduction trajectories in line with climate science for companies operating mobile networks, fixed networks and/or data centres.

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