Solar Powered 5G Internet Is Here As 5G Goes Green




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Girl on tablet listening to headphones

Ericsson is committed to environmental responsibility and has been working on the development of a sustainable 5G site in Plano, Texas. The company announced its new energy-smart network solution earlier this week offering an efficient and sustainable mobile network that is powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar power.

“We’re thrilled to announce this smart-sustainable 5G site, which serves as a tangible proof point of Ericsson’s leading position in building sustainable mobile networks,” said Kevin Zvokel, Senior Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson North America. “Operators can now utilize untapped assets, thanks to this technology, creating new energy cost savings opportunities.”

Ericsson has a goal to significantly reduce 5G’s carbon footprint while also being cost-effective. Ericsson’s new site uses renewable energy sources while continuing to provide uninterrupted connections and improved grid resilience. 

The location in Plano can be fully operated using solar energy for up to 24 hours alongside Lithium-ion 6612 batteries to power an ultra-lightweight mid-band Massive MIMO AIR 6419, RAN Processor 6651, and Enclosure 6160 using a Solar Shelf 6670 and Controller 6610. 

“Mobile operators increasingly need to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of their base stations without sacrificing network coverage or the quality of the user experience,” said Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst at Global Data. “Ericsson’s smart site solutions for hybrid energy sources are designed to help operators control costs and increase profitability – especially in rural or remote areas or private networks, where traffic volumes are lower and power consumption needs to be especially efficient. Using a variety of tools to increase energy efficiency and sustainability – including solar power, lithium-ion batteries, and advanced software features – can be helpful for improving operator profitability.”

The system uses “load shifting, peak shaving, and demand response” to switch to battery usage when electricity rates are high. The batteries are charged when electricity rates are lower to offer an optimal cost-efficiency strategy. 

Combining solar power with energy storage systems into hybrid locations, like Ericsson’s has developed, is crucial to integrate clean power and resiliency to mobile networks facing a high risk of grid outages. 

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