What's the average power consumption of a cell site?

Discussion in 'Design, Development and Standards Discussions' started by Narain Sarshar, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Narain Sarshar

    Narain Sarshar Industry Observer

    I'm aware that each site is distinctive based upon whether it's urban or rural and the type of equipment - shelter versus non-shelter, etc. - but does anyone have any information on the average power consumption of a cell site or the cost? I'm doing some research for an on grid energy savings project.
  2. David Lehrer

    David Lehrer Industry Observer

    If you're looking for an average cost in $$$ you might want to use $400 to $600. It's a wide spread, but it may be a good number to use. It also depends on the network architecture, sector utilization and other factors as well as the service providers' rates, power amplifiers and other factors. One size will not fit all.
  3. J.T. Karners

    J.T. Karners Friend of the Community

    Go to your local cell site with four or more carriers on it. You should be able to read the meters without entering the compound. Return a month later and you should be able to use your KWH costs.
  4. Towerpro1

    Towerpro1 Friend of the Community

    Most sites are backed up by generators using 40kW to 70kW so it's a pretty good idea of how much power is needed at the site. There are so many variables. One that wasn't mentioned is tower lighting. Not all of them require lighting, but it can be a pretty healthy bill. A legacy shelter with AC will really increase the consumption.

    If you've got some contacts on the carrier side they should be able to let you know. It might even be good to run the what ifs by them as well to see if there is a market for your product.
  5. UCI_IE22

    UCI_IE22 Friend of the Community

    As a follow up to this question, I found a couple good reports on the power requirements of cell sites. Looks like power requirements of an individual cell site ranges somewhere between 1-4kW.

    Can anyone verify or contradict these reports?

    Also, if the energy requirement is in the 1-4kw range, why are typical backup power generators so large? AMT offers backup generators in sized up to 50kW. Why would a backup generator need to be oversized by such a large factor? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Links are below:


  6. JPHFC

    JPHFC Friend of the Community

    Just my own perception, but:
    There are many variables, however I think the 1 -4 kW is an accurate average for the communications power itself, but would also depend on how many providers are using the site or tower. If a site also requires AC power for lighting, air conditioning , etc. the power requirement will be a good deal higher.
    I was not aware that towers were using backup generators as high as 40 to 70kW, would be interesting to know the load breakout on these...
    The Motorola document refers to many of the emerging alternative power solutions such as solar, fuel cells, etc. As a reference point, most of the fuel cell backup power solution providers (Altergy, IdaTech, Dantherm/Ballard, etc.) have offerings in the 2 - 10 kW range and the "sweet spot" right now seems to be 3 - 5 kW. I believe these are designed to support communications function when grid power goes down, rather than powering an entire tower with lighting and other AC demands, although they can do so depending on configuration.
    BTW, if anyone knows the relative power consumption of the smaller Urban rooftop antennas compared to a large cell tower I would appreciate any input. I'm also trying to find out if the rooftop antennas have their own backup systems or are depend only on grid power.
  7. UCI_IE22

    UCI_IE22 Friend of the Community

    Thanks for your insight. Below are a couple links that seem to indicate that a telecom site needs backup generators in the 20-60kw range.


    American Tower offers generators in sizes up to 50kw and Cummins estimates that the typical load profile of a basestation in North America is in the 20-60kW range. These numbers seem very high.

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