DoCoMo to field-test solar base stations

Dylan Bushell-Embling
25 Mar 2013

Japan's NTT DoCoMo has announced plans to start field testing three solar-powered base stations from next month.

The operator said it had developed the solar base stations as part of efforts to develop disaster-proof base stations in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami during March 2011.

The disaster led to rolling blackouts across Japan, causing outages and stressed networks for the nation's operators. At the peak of the disruption, DoCoMo had reported that 6,720 of its base stations were rendered inoperative.

The solar base stations have been in testing at DoCoMo's R&D facility since March 2012, and the plan has been in the works since at least mid-2011.

Each BTS will be equipped with solar panels, rechargeable batteries and green power controllers.

If the base station is disconnected from commercial power supply, it can use the solar cells to provide power during the day, and store up to 16 hours of power to use when this isn't available.

DoCoMo said the design will also allow it to purchase power for the base station at night time, when costs are relatively cheaper, and use it to augment photovoltaic power generation on cloudy days.

DoCoMo plans to deploy 10 disaster-proof facilities by late summer. The company is also evaluating adding wind-powered base stations and fuel cell technologies to the green development program.

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