In a German village about 100 miles north of Munich, Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson are doing pioneering work in the use of solar energy for mobile broadband locations. The use of renewable energies is increasing in all sectors across Germany, but solar modules have not yet been used to power commercial mobile broadband locations. With the joint initiative, the two companies want to show that an independent energy supply for mobile radio sites with solar energy is possible.
As part of the project, small solar modules with a total area of approx. 12 m2 were installed at a mobile Deutsche Telekom location in Dittenheim. The Ericsson Power System takes care of the maximum power point tracking (MPP) as well as the required voltage conversion. The solution also includes the integration of the solar solutions into the same management system that controls the Radio Access Network (RAN).
Tests conducted in the second half of 2020 showed that solar energy can account for more than two-thirds of the site's total output at peak times. Depending on the solar radiation and the technology configuration, larger proportions, including up to fully autonomous power supply, are also observed. This is thanks to the energy-efficient radio equipment.
The project confirms the potential of solar energy as an alternative energy source for mobile sites and opens up to other renewable energy sources.
Leif Heitzer, Senior Vice President Technology Guidance & Economics at Deutsche Telekom, says: “The autonomous power supply for mobile locations not only reduces our CO2 emissions, but should also enable the network to be expanded at locations where development costs were previously uneconomical. “
Heather Johnson, Ericsson’s vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility, said, “Ericsson is a driving force in global climate action and this project is yet another example of how a network-level approach can be sustainable for cellular networks. We welcome this partnership with Deutsche Telekom and continue to work to support our customers in managing their network energy consumption and the associated CO2 emissions. “
The initiative is intended to make an important contribution to the energy transition and to reducing the effects on climate change. Since the beginning of 2021, Deutsche Telekom has been purchasing its electricity across the group exclusively from renewable energies. By 2030, other CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 90 percent compared to 2017.
Ericsson is a strong supporter of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and an active member of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative. Telecommunications infrastructure enables innovations in many industries that lead to more efficient business processes and ultimately a low-carbon society.
Ericsson attaches great importance to the energy efficiency of its portfolio, as a detailed end-to-end life cycle analysis shows that the operating phase of the product is responsible for around 80 percent of the CO2 emissions of the entire life cycle. Greater energy efficiency in wireless location solutions means that locally generated renewable energies are becoming more practical. In addition, Ericsson has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral in its own activities by 2030.
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