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New “Energy-Smart” 5G Site Unveiled In Plano

By implementing hybrid energy management the site has the potential to be fully powered by solar energy
Ericsson’s energy-smart site in Plano. Photo: Ericsson | Website

On July 11, 2023, Ericsson unveiled a new 5G site in Plano, Texas that the company hopes will set a new standard for sustainable mobile networks. According to Ericsson, the site showcases the integration of energy-efficient solutions combined with the use of renewable energy sources.

“Mobile operators increasingly need to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of their base stations without sacrificing network coverage or the quality of the user experience,” said Ed Gubbins, principal analyst at Global Data, in an official statement of the challenges mobile network companies face when looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. According to a 2021 study, the information and communication technology (ICT) industry’s carbon footprint increased approximately by 20% for each decade since 2000, faster than global emissions. “Using a variety of tools to increase energy efficiency and sustainability – including solar power, lithium-ion batteries, and advanced software features – can be helpful for improving operator profitability,” added Gubbins.

By implementing integrated Lithium-ion batteries, Plano’s 5G site could be fully operated by solar energy for up to a 24-hour period. This results in a hybrid energy management system that combines a renewable energy source with an energy storage system, increasing the resiliency of portions of the mobile network that face greater risks of grid outages. 

Additionally, the site will feature advanced capabilities such as load shifting, peak shaving, and demand response which enables the site to effectively utilize batteries when electricity rates are high and recharge the batteries when electricity rates are lower. Plano’s proof-of-concept site would be a more sustainable alternative to traditional off-grid sites typically powered by fossil fuel-based generators.

During phase two of the project, the company will explore additional green energy sources as alternatives to diesel as well as the interoperability with power grid vendors to optimize local energy generation and consumption to sell back to the grid with net metering.