" + text + "

"); mydoc.close(); } //-->

Telecenter Model

Home > THE BASICS > Telecenter Model

On this page...


Introduction to the Model
This section presents a graphic illustration of the sensitivity of solar PV system costs to ICT power consumption. The principles shown here can be applied to other types of energy solutions as well, but the potential savings are greatest in the case of photovoltaics.

To isolate the effects of computer power consumption on initial telecenter investment, Winrock calculated the total costs of ICT equipment and appropriately sized PV energy systems for small, medium and large off-grid telecenters. The cost analysis was based on desktop design of telecenters with standardized ICT equipment configurations. Telecenters of a given size were equipped with identical ICT complements, with the exception of the type of computer. Four different computers were evaluated, with power consumption ranging from a low of 15.8W to a high of 208 W, including monitors. Each computer option has the functionality required to support the same standard services, such as word processing, IT skills training, web browsing, e-mail, telephony, and printing. PV system costs were calculated based on daily energy demand, and added to the total ICT costs to obtain total telecenter investment costs.

The results illustrate the stark financial consequences of failing to manage energy demand in off-grid solutions. Telecenters with the highest power consumption cost more than twice as much to establish, on average, as the most energy-efficient telecenters.

Computer Selection
Each of theh four computer options used in the analysis is a composite based on the specifications, pricing and physical forms of actual computer models. The prices used in the analysis should be taken as examples only, since there is considerable range of prices for computers in all four categories. The main principles in assigning the prices were that notebook computers cost significantly more than desktop computers, LCD monitors cost more than CRT monitors, and state-of-the-art components cost more than older technologies.

Notebook, low-power desktop, Business PC + LCD monitor, Entertainment PC + CRT Monitor

Equipment Configuration
Based on the four computer options listed above, average daily energy demand was calculated for small, medium and large off-grid telecenters.

Small Telecenter
Small telecenter configuration

The smallest telecenter consisted of one computer, one inkjet printer, one telephone, and three 15 W compact fluorescent lights.

Medium-size Telecenter

Medium size telecenter configutation

The medium-sized telecenter included four computers, two inkjet printers, one Ethernet hub, two telephones and five 15 W compact fluorescent lights.

Large Telecenter

Large Telecenter configuration

The large telecenter consisted of eight computers, one inkjet printer, one dot matrix printer, one multi-function printer/scanner/copier/fax, one network switch, one TV, one VCR, three telephones, and nine 15W compact fluorescent lights.

Go to the Interactive Model to see the impact of the selection of different types of computers on the overall costs of the three types of telecenters described above.

Wireless Connectivity
Telecenters that lack access to the electricity grid are frequently located beyond the reach of landline telephone networks as well. When wireless connectivity options are be installed in off-grid telecenters, they add to the telecenters' energy requirements. Three wireless connectivity options were considered, offering voice telephony, data transfer or both: Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite remote stations, narrowband packet radio, and WiFi.

In contrast to computer systems, whose costs are highly front-loaded, many communications services incur ongoing service charges that may exceed the initial cost of the equipment many times over. In its own projects, Winrock has not found it practical to select wireless connectivity options based on the power consumption of the equipment, although it is a consideration in determining whether a given option is financially feasible for the community involved.

To provide some reference points for the potential impact of wireless connectivity on PV system costs, Winrock considered WiFi, packet radio, and VSAT connectivity options and added the marginal costs of the equipment and energy system capacity to the ICT and energy system costs. The usage assumptions for the wireless connectivity equipment were the same for all three options: the equipment was active three hours per day for small telecenters, five hours per day for medium telecenters, and seven hours per day for large telecenters. Due to wide variability in the cost of professional installation services based on the availability of local expertise and the difficulty in reaching remote locations, no installation costs for the connectivity equipment were included in the calculations.

The results show that WiFi connectivity increases initial equipment and energy costs by about $1,460, packet radio by about $2,000 and VSAT connectivity by $3,800-6900, depending on the number of telephone lines supported by the VSAT model. Service charges, such as monthly usage fees and ISP charges, were not included in the analysis.

Read more about the Connectivity Options.....