Texas: Ericsson sets up a 5G site in Texas powered by solar energy

Jul 14, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Ericsson has announced that it has set up a 5G site in Texas powered by solar energy. Located in Plano, Texas, the site can be fully operated by solar energy and supported by integrated Lithium-ion batteries, for up to 24 hours. 

The Plano site includes Ericsson's Massive MIMO radio configuration, a RAN processor, solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, and a controller for hybrid energy operation and control.

Further, the site also offers the "latest in hybrid energy management," combining on-site solar and energy storage systems for clean power and increased resiliency to portions of mobile networks at the greatest risk of grid outages. The site will feature advanced capabilities, including load shifting, peak shaving, and demand response to effectively utilize batteries when electricity rates are high and recharge the batteries when electricity rates are lower.

Speaking about the decision to move toward hybrid energy management, Ed Gubbins, principal analyst at Global Data, said: "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.

According to Ericsson, the proof-of-concept demonstrates to other operators that solar sites can enable them to reduce OpEx related to energy costs and help reach Net Zero goals while enabling future revenue streams from utility companies.

Gubbins added: "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 company shared that the second phase of the project is being planned, which will explore other green energy sources as alternatives to diesel, such as hydrogen-based generators. It will also look at interoperability with power grid vendors, optimizing local energy generation, and consumption to sell back to the grid with net metering.