Motorola has deployed a wind and solar power system to operate MTC Namibia’s GSM cell site at Dordabis village in the Khomas region of Namibia. The trial with MTC Namibia supports the African operator’s strategy for increased voice and data service coverage in rural areas of Namibia and is the first of its kind globally. 

“With the implementation of cell sites into more remote areas, Motorola solution provides us with an efficient and reliable alternative to the often costly roll-out of mains grid electricity. This is an important project for us and commencement of the wind and solar cell site trial is proof of our commitment to our customers to provide the essential communication services needed in the region,” says Albertus Aochamub, GM: corporate services at MTC Namibia.
By incorporating renewable energy solutions into communication networks Motorola is trialling this solution as a feasible option for operators instead of utilising costly fuel generators or waiting long periods for a mains grid connection.  The Dordabis cell site will remain a part of MTC Namibia’s live GSM network throughout the trial.
Motorola has been working with the GSM Association on this project which was announced at 3GSM Barcelona in February this year. “A key challenge in much of Africa is connecting people in off-grid locations and this project seeks to highlight to operators that wind and solar power is a real and cost effective alternative.  We expect this pilot to become a showcase for the industry and to see replication of the model thereafter,” says Dawn Hartley, development fund manager at the GSMA.
With its expanded rural and roadside network coverage MTC Namibia is providing voice and GPRS/EDGE data services to enable new communities to access communication and the internet at a level not possible before.  Recently, MTC Namibia has also launched a Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) service on its GPRS network.  Initially being utilized as a communication aid to deliver services within local communities, it will be expanded to serve diverse subscriber groups and businesses in the future.
“We are excited to be working with MTC Namibia on this solar and wind power powered cell site.  Though this particular trial is being delivered on a GSM network, Motorola solution has the capability to be applied to other wireless networks that have rural cell site power issues,” says Ali Amer, vice-president: Middle East, Africa & Pakistan at Motorola Home & Networks Mobility.
Once installed, the cost of power is almost zero, and wind and solar powered cell sites require minimal maintenance unlike a diesel driven generator which generally requires, at a minimum, a monthly visit for refuelling. This translates into added savings in operating expenditure (OPEX), a key factor to emerging market network operators.
Motorola’s renewable energy solutions for powering wireless network cell sites are part of the company’s Reach GSM portfolio.