Lately, Telstra has been toying with the idea of going all solar in terms of powering their telephone exchanges, which brings them one step closer into joining other large corporations who have moved towards renewable energy as their main, or part of their primary power sources. While this proves to be advantageous for Mother Nature, going all solar has its disadvantages which seem to be automatically a red flag for profit-driven organisations. While the solar panels are rather cheap, the costs of installation for larger structures could prove to be too costly for it to offset the projected benefits.
Phone Calls via Solar Power
Known as that telecommunications system used to connect subscriber lines, which in turn enables phone calls, telephone exchanges powered entirely by renewable energy sources such as solar energy seems to be an amazing feat, but has been momentarily dismissed as a dream by Telstra itself, at least for now. It appears that what the company has been doing is to mix their main power source with solar energy in order to drive down the cost. The main culprit blamed for the inability to totally shift to solar energy is the high costs related to installation, which would not be easily offset by potential future gains.
The Goals at Present
What the company is aiming to do at present is to maximise the use of solar energy without necessarily having to endure a huge cash outlay that would be harmful for profit. Given how only four or five hours a day are proven to be beneficial for a typical exchange site, relying entirely on solar power and dismissing other sources would simply not be feasible. As such, the company is focusing more on tri-generation, biofuel, as well as fuel cell technology as back-up power sources for their mobile towers and for operations involving small exchanges as well. This new technology is evidently unable to deliver for now, but in around three years’ worth of research and development, it would definitely provide more hope for a cleaner energy source.
Other Current Telstra Solar Projects
Aside from innovations in telephone exchanges, fuel cell technology, and the like, Telstra has also been reducing their carbon footprint through other means, most notably through fresh air cooling, which enables them to significantly decrease their usage of air-conditioners to just around 10 per cent of the time. Since the introduction of this move towards this particular green energy source four years ago, around $50,000 has been saved by the company in terms of electricity consumption per year. Another contributing factor to these savings would be the optimisation of airflow and cooling systems in their buildings.
While Telstra is still far from an all-green and renewable energy source, it is good to know that it is doing something to form part of a much larger group of corporations which have geared their development plans vis-à-vis the protection of the planet. No matter how small, the step is still headed towards the ultimate goal.