Mobile firm MTC Namibia has announced the world's first mobile phone base station powered by wind and the sun's rays set to open in Namibia. MTC has been using base stations powered with just solar energy but will turn to the wind for the first time for the trial in the village of Dordabis, 40 kilometres east of the capital city Windhoek. The main advantage of rolling out the alternative power supplies over using a grid is speed. "Namibia is a huge country with only two million people - to get power to rural areas is very expensive. You are paying US $8,000 per kilometre to get a grid power line. And to get on the grid you can wait a year or two to get a power line," said MTC executive Joachen Traut.
The base station needs between 1,200 and 1,500 watts - to meet that demand the site will have a six-kilowatt turbine and four solar panels. The cell would serve about 1,500 people living in the village as well as farming communities about 30km away. The network will support GSM, GPRS and Edge connections. Linda Brown, GSM solutions manager for Motorola in the UK, said: "We have to generate power significantly higher than what the cell needs for us to pass on power to the base station. In Namibia the turbine and solar panels will also be running the base station with traffic on it, the peripheral communications, vsat (satellite transmitter/receiver) and even the protective fencing around the site."
News source: BBC News