Solar powered mobile phone towers

It looks like a solar powered mobile phone tower has been developed and deployed in Malawi.

The solar-powered base station does not rely on either mains power or a diesel generator for back-up, so each site will be significantly cheaper to operate and maintain.

The design is also environmentally friendly.

Above all, the solar powered sites give operators the freedom to place sites wherever they want, rather than where the local infrastructure is available, says Moolman.

If I only knew where Chiringa was I could go and take some pictures!

This must be some sort of mesh network though right? Otherwise they would have to place the tower where there is some sort of wired network coverage. Are mobile phone towers usually configured as a mesh network?


1 Response to Solar powered mobile phone towers

  1. I have no facts or references to back me up, but I've always understood that cell phone towers are connected to the telephone network by wire. The reason cell phones are more available than land lines in developing areas is that it's easier to run one wire to a cell tower than wires to each house. I think, also, the "local infrastructure" Moolman refers to in your quote is the electrical system.

    If there was a microwave transmission feature of this solar cell tower, they would have mentioned it. That would make it more complicated and expensive, though.

    At this point in the history of technology, it's worth specifying that by solar they probably mean photo voltaic with some batteries (probabaly lead-acid). There are a few very cool new solar powered electricity generating ideas that are being deployed right now. One involves lots of mirrors that heat a conventional liquid sodium medium to run conventional steam turbines. This system is cheaper because it uses a lot 'off the shelf' parts. It also has a plus over photo voltaic systems in that the liquid sodium can stay hot all night long, so you get consistent 24 hour production of electricity with no batteries needed.

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