Vodafone has switched on the UK’s first live wind- and solar-powered cell tower in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The mast will provide 4G coverage to the surrounding community
The specially designed tower, which potentially removes the need for a connection to the national electricity grid, could provide connectivity to ‘not-spots’ in the UK’s most remote and inaccessible locations – helping the industry achieve 95% of UK landmass coverage by 2025. It will also help Vodafone reduce carbon emissions and support its target of reaching net zero UK operations by 2027.
Vodafone confirmed that every area of its business in the UK – including its network, data centers, retail stores and offices – is now 100% powered by electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro.
The ‘self-powering’ tower incorporates a unique Crossflow Energy wind turbine that can generate power even in light winds. The structure can be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electricity cables, making it faster and easier to install and reducing the impact on the local environment.
It is also extremely quiet, making it viable for sensitive sites such as areas of outstanding natural beauty. It can also be ‘filtered out’ as a solid object by radar, birds and bats, so it is easily avoided, making it less harmful to wildlife, the company said.
The trial tower, in partnership with wind turbine technology specialists Crossflow Energy and mobile infrastructure partner Cornerstone, will run for two years and data gathered will help Vodafone optimize the technology and determine which sites are most suitable for ‘self-powering’ towers.