Off-Grid Power for Mobile Base Stations

Demand for high quality, high reliability off-grid power is increasing yearly. In the coming years, a significant fraction of this demand will be met by some form of hybrid system that includes renewable or alternative energy sources. Of particular interest in this regard is growing demand for reliable, non-diesel-based energy sources from off-grid base transceiver stations for mobile communications networks.

Diesel generators, a solution that presents a number of economic, logistical, and environmental challenges, remain by far the most common energy source for such remote base stations. This market is small when compared with grid-tied base stations. But the level of market pain is such that the so-called “green base station,” which is essentially a combination of renewable, battery, and fuel cell technologies, is starting to see real market traction. Pike Research forecasts that revenue for off-grid base station power will grow from $1.6 billion in 2012 to more than $10.5 billion in 2020.

This Pike Research report examines the market for off-grid power for mobile base stations, focusing on renewable and alternative energy sources. The report includes a detailed analysis of the technology readiness of such systems, as well as an overview of the most likely technology combinations, including renewable generation with batteries and fuel cells, renewable generation with backup batteries, and standalone fuel cells. Market forecasts are provided for revenue, number of deployments, and capacity in megawatts, under base and optimistic scenarios, through 2020.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What are the drivers for adoption of renewable and alternative energy to power off-grid mobile base stations?
  • Which technologies and systems are ready for commercial scale and which are still in the R&D stage?
  • What are the revenue and capacity projections for off-grid power systems for mobile base stations globally, through 2020?
  • What are the most likely technology combinations to meet the demand for off-grid power for mobile base stations?
  • How do these systems compare to incumbent technology, i.e., diesel generators?

The chronic need for expanded and more stable grid infrastructure is driving strong growth in a number of markets for off-grid power. Increasingly this power is being supplied by renewable energy and alternative sources, such as fuel cells and advanced batteries. One of the most intriguing of these markets is remote sensing, including light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for the oil and gas industry, as well as remote monitoring using telemetry for environmental applications. The common factor between these markets is their need for long term, running up to a year, autonomous power supply for an off-grid, often highly remote, location Together these applications represent an overall market size in the hundreds of thousands of systems.

The industry serving this market remains small and fragmented. In the oil and gas sector, demand is increasing for systems that can work in extreme conditions and very remote environments. No one solution is set to become dominant. Pike Research forecasts that, under a base scenario, nearly 27,000 remote sensing systems based on renewable and alternative energy will be shipped annually by 2020. Under a more optimistic scenario, that figure could reach just under 40,000.

This Pike Research report examines the market for remote sensing systems using renewable or alternative energy, focusing on remote sensing, LIDAR, and SCADA systems. Market drivers and barriers for the use of renewable or alternative energy systems are detailed, along with specific factors at work in the oil and gas industry. Market forecasts for unit shipments and for revenues, segmented by application, are provided through 2020. The report also includes profiles of key industry players.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What is the forecast for global revenue for renewable and alternative energy systems for remote sensing through 2020?
  • What are the market need, incumbent technology and drivers for switching to renewable, or alternative energy systems in the remote monitoring sector?
  • Who are the leading players in the market for renewable and alternative energy for remote sensing applications?
  • Which industries will have the largest needs for remote sensing systems based on renewable or alternative energy?
  • What are the requirements for deployment into the oil and gas industry?