The UK’s first live wind and solar-powered mobile phone mast has been activated in Pembrokeshire (Wales) by Vodafone UK. The self-powered mast will provide 4G service to the community of Eglwyswrw and will be powered by a wind turbine, solar panels and on-site battery storage.
The new mast contributes to Vodafone’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2027 for its UK operations. The mast is meant to eliminate the requirement for a connection to the national energy grid, a strategy that will assist in delivering connectivity in rural and distant places that are now without those critical services.
The mast is equipped with a one-of-a-kind wind turbine that can generate electricity even in low wind conditions and can be deployed without the need for electrical connections. This infrastructure is also extremely quiet, making it ideal for installation in sensitive locations.
The study is being carried out in collaboration with Cornerstone, a mobile infrastructure firm, and Crossflow Energy, a wind turbine technology company. The unit will remain operational for two years, with the data collected being examined and used to determine the optimum locations for similar units to be installed.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer and Development Director at Vodafone, commented: “Connectivity is vital to everyone, no matter where you live. This self-powering mobile phone mast, with on-site battery storage, could help us connect places that were previously impossible to reach. It will also help us reduce carbon emissions and minimize our impact on local environments. If this trial is a success, we would like to roll out more ‘self-powering’ masts, with a focus on areas with poor or no coverage.”
In May, Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson launched a similar 5G facility powered by solar and wind energy that they claim can be self-sufficient under the correct conditions.