Wind and Solar Powered Cellphone Networks

Namibia is a big place with only two million people and not much infrastructure. They are building a cellphone system (cheaper than a wired one where there isn't much infrastructure or density) but it costs $ 8,000 per kilometre to put in grid power and it takes at least a year. Motorola and cellphone company MTC Namibia are trying out a combo solar and wind installation to roll the phones out quickly.

According to the BBC, The base station needs between 1,200 and 1,500 watts and to meet that demand the site will have a six-kilowatt turbine and four solar panels. "In Namibia the turbine and solar panels will also be running the base station with traffic on it, the peripheral communications, vsat (satellite transmitter/receiver) and even the protective fencing around the site," said Motorola's Linda Brown. The cell will serve 1,500 people living in the village as well as farming communities about 30km away.

According to the Register, Wind and solar powered stations require less maintenance than a diesel driven generator which generally requires, at a minimum, a monthly visit for refueling. Thomas Quirke, director of marketing at Motorola, said that diesel power is expensive, especially in cases where it needs to be delivered to cell sites without road access, and often gets siphoned off. "Diesel fuel supplies are heavily prone to theft. Thieves will even take diesel generators, given the chance," he said.

We can think of few better examples of how technology can improve peoples lives without damaging the environment.::BBC

Tags: Africa