A new partnership with Ericsson will see the German operator attempt to prove that independent solar power for mobile sites is viable

Today, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has announced that it has been trialling the use of on-site solar panels to power its mobile infrastructure in the latter half of 2020. 
In partnership with Ericsson, DT has deployed solar modules with a surface area of around 12m2 at its mobile site at Dittenheim, a village around 100 miles from Munich. The energy generated from these modules is then used to power the site itself, with Ericsson’s Power System handling the process of integrating the energy supply.
This is reportedly the first instance of solar modules being used to power commercial mobile sites.
Overall, the results of this trial show that solar panels are able to contribute over two-thirds of the site’s total power consumption during peak hours. Furthermore, when weather conditions are favourable during non-peak hours, the solar modules can power the mobile sites entirely independently.
In future, this could allow for mobile sites to be deployed in regions that were previously not cost-effective.
“Autonomous power supply for mobile sites not only reduces our CO2 emissions, but also shall help enabling network expansion in locations, where development costs were previously not economical,” explained Leif Heitzer, senior vice president technology guidance & economics at DT.
DT has been making a major push for sustainability in recent years. Since the start of this year, all of its energy throughout the group has been renewable. The company ultimately has goals of reducing its CO2 emissions significantly by 2030, aiming to hit a 90% reduction compared to 2017 levels. Ericsson, similarly, has goals of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
But sustainability is not the only area where DT is making progress at the start of 2021. The operator has reportedly started testing its first standalone 5G antenna at its site in Garching, also near Munich. Currently, DT has around 68% coverage of the German population with non-standalone 5G.
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