Solar and wind powered cell phone sites have been around for a long time, but deployments have been limited to remote areas where there’s lots of space to put in the solar panels or wind turbines needed to power the sites.
Up until this week, nobody thought such solutions would be applicable in urban environments. Now Ericsson and Telecom Italia is looking to bring solar-powered cell sites into urban environments with a trial of the vendor’s Eco-Smart solution in the city of L’Aquila, the location of the latest G8 meeting.
According to Ericsson, the Eco-Smart solution, based on flexible solar panels, can generate up to 100 percent of the energy required to power a site in the same land space as a traditional site.
“With this trial Telecom Italia reaffirms its commitment to technological innovation that will benefit the whole country, as well as to cost-cutting solutions,” said Stefano Pileri, Head of Technology & Operations at Telecom Italia. “Using Eco-Smart also confirms our concern for environmental sustainability, one of the main drivers of our development policies.”
The Eco-Smart solution features an elliptical support structure coated with flexible solar panels wrapping up the antenna. The innovative structure, completely designed in Italy, can be easily adapted to all radio base stations shapes and provide operators with significant advantages in terms of operational expenses with an expectation of medium-term amortization, with a very low environmental impact, Ericsson said.
Cesare Avenia, President of Ericsson Italy says the solution can be used with any technology, 2G, 3G or LTE, and in multi-vendor environments.