With the goal of being carbon neutral by 2027, Vodafone will begin a trial of cell towers powered by wind and solar energy late this year as a part of its Shared Rural Network in the United Kingdom. The self-powered design enables new sites to be built in the most remote parts of the U.K. without connecting to the electricity grid, supporting the industry commitment to cover 95 percent of the U.K. landmass by 2025.
“Vodafone is committed to delivering connectivity services in the most responsible and sustainable manner. We confirmed earlier this year that our entire European business and network is now powered by 100-percent renewable electricity,” a company spokesperson said.
For the last two years, Vodafone and Crossflow Energy have been collaborating on the development of Crossflow Energy’s wind turbine technology. Combined with solar and battery technologies, the result is a self-powered mobile network tower. Vodafone, alongside network partner Cornerstone, will now run a proof-of-concept to install Crossflow Turbine technology on rural mobile sites.
Using locally-generated renewable power reduces the environmental impact of the site. Wind and solar energy, together with battery storage systems on-site, eliminate reliance on diesel generators for back-up power. The quiet, bird-friendly turbine makes the cell site viable for the most sensitive of sites, including “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” The security of the power supply is also improved as the on-site power generation is independent from the electricity grid according to Vodfaone.
By J. Sharpe Smith Inside Towers Technology Editor