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Sunlabob and GSMA form MoU to explore green energy for Myanmar telecommunications

Partnership focuses on business models for supplying renewable energy to off-grid towers and rural communities in Myanmar

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Sunlabob recently finalized a partnership with GSM Association (GSMA), the industry group representing mobile operators worldwide, to develop a business model for providing renewable energy services to telecommunication towers and rural communities in off-grid areas of Myanmar.

The engagement – which also includes Relitec, Sunlabob’s Myanmar partner – is driven by GSMA’s Green Power for Mobile program and will examine the technical, financial and operational elements necessary to run a energy service company (ESCO) that is capable of serving the quickly growing telecommunications industry in Myanmar.

More than 15,000 mobile towers are expected to be built in the coming years, many of which will be in rural, hard-to-reach areas not served by the central electricity grid. Less than 30 percent of Myanmar’s population currently has no access to grid-connected power.

“The exploding demand for mobile network infrastructure growth, paired with the significant shortages of electricity supply, means that there is a considerable role for off-grid renewable energy to play,” noted Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob’s CEO.

Sunlabob, Relitec and GSMA will also explore opportunities for selling excess electricity from telecoms towers to nearby off-grid communities, which could enable vital community services such as healthcare, lighting and income-generation.

“Knowing that thousands of off-grid telecom towers will be built in the coming years, the opportunity to provide power to towers and neighboring communities in parallel is a proposition in need of serious consideration,” added Schroeter.

At the conclusion of the engagement, GSMA will disseminate outcomes from the partnership to mobile industry stakeholders worldwide. Sunlabob and Relitec will work toward the objective of launching several pilot projects to validate the ESCO business model with tower companies and operators in Myanmar.

Sunlabob will discuss renewable energy for telecommunications and rural communities at the upcoming Myanmar Green Energy Summit, to be held in Yangon on 5-6 August.