Monday, February 16, 2009

Mobile Operator in Vanuatu Powers 60% of Systems with Wind/Solar

Digicel, supported by the GSMA Development Fund, has completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solutions to power 25 base stations on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Digicel, which is the leading mobile operator in Vanuatu, now carries more than 60% of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources.

Digicel's approach of using solar, wind and hybrid power is more cost-effective and reliable solution than either solar cells or wind turbines alone. , to bring GSM coverage to some of the most remote communities in Vanuatu. Typically, off-grid base stations have been powered by generators running on diesel, which is increasingly erratic in price, is costly to distribute and generates carbon dioxide emissions.

Digicel, which launched commercial service in June 2008, recently completed the second phase in the project, bringing the current number of green-powered base stations to 25. Additionally, in 2009, Digicel plans to install a new wind turbine to an existing wind farm to power a portion of its sites, enabling the operator to further reduce its annual power bill.

"The GSMA created the Green Power for Mobile programme with two objectives in mind: to promote the use of green power to expand mobile networks into regions currently lacking coverage, and to facilitate the systematic reduction of reliance on diesel by operators," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA. "Our work with Digicel further demonstrates the commercial viability of implementing renewable energy systems on a broad scale and has helped establish best practices for future green power projects."

Digicel has current operations in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The company was recently granted licenses by the Governments of Fiji and has commitments from several other countries in the Pacific.

Digicel is also the largest operator in the Caribbean operating in 23 markets and rolling out new operations in Central America.


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