Ericsson has unveiled a new sustainable 5G site in Plano, Texas that showcases its complete energy-smart network solution. The project is meant to highlight Ericsson’s leadership in sustainable mobile networks and the integration of energy-efficient solutions with use of renewable energy sources.
“We’re thrilled to announce this smart-sustainable 5G site, which serves as a tangible proof point of Ericsson’s leading position in building sustainable mobile networks,” said Kevin Zvokel, Senior Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson North America. “Operators can now utilize untapped assets, thanks to this technology, creating new energy cost savings opportunities.”
The 5G site has the potential to be fully operated by solar energy, complemented by integrated Lithium-ion batteries, for up to a 24-hour period. Sourcing power from renewable energy sources is the most impactful decarbonization strategy for mobile networks, but doing so in an intelligent and cost-effective way has been a challenge.
“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. “Ericsson’s smart site solutions for hybrid energy sources are designed to help operators control costs and increase profitability – especially in rural or remote areas or private networks, where traffic volumes are lower and power consumption needs to be especially efficient. 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.”
The Plano site includes the ultra-lightweight mid-band Massive MIMO AIR 6419, RAN Processor 6651 along with Enclosure 6160, which comprises of a Solar shelf 6670, lithium-ion Batteries 6612, and Controller 6610 for hybrid energy operation and control.
It showcases the latest in hybrid energy management, combining on-site solar and energy storage systems to integrate clean power and increased resiliency to portions of mobile networks at greatest risk of grid outages. 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. This strategy allows for multiple daily cycles, ensuring optimal cost efficiency by taking advantage of the most favorable electricity prices.
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This proof-of-concept site, which is a more sustainable alternative to traditional off-grid sites which are typically powered by fossil fuel-based generators, is designed to show operators that, by intelligently orchestrating multiple energy sources and storage technologies in unison, they can reduce OPEX related to energy costs and help reach Net Zero goals while enabling future revenue streams from utility companies. With a unified intelligent management system and power management, including solar power and Lithium-ion batteries, the site continuously optimizes for the best energy source.
Phase two of the project will explore additional green energy sources as alternatives to diesel, such as hydrogen-based generators. This phase will also explore interoperability with power grid vendors, optimizing local energy generation and consumption to sell back to the grid with net metering. By unlocking premium Ericsson Network Manager features like the Policy-based Battery Saver, operators can switch off specified radio frequencies to reduce energy consumption and, by so prolonging network services, increasing network resiliency.
The site also has the potential to be utilized as a test bed to trial radio hardware and software solutions that improve energy efficiency in conjunction with smart-site solutions. It opens additional avenues for exploration, including collaboration with utility companies in areas such as grid frequency, voltage regulation, and demand response.
Watch the video below to learn more about the 5G site: