Vodafone lights up the UK’s first wind and solar powered mobile phone mast

Vodafone UK has commissioned the UK’s first wind and solar powered mobile phone mast in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The mast will provide 4G coverage to the community of Eglwyswrw.

The purpose-built mast, which potentially eliminates the need for a connection to the national power grid, could provide connectivity to ‘non-spots’ in the UK’s most remote and inaccessible locations, helping the industry reach 95% of UK landmass coverage by 20253 . It will also help Vodafone reduce its carbon emissions and support its goal of achieving net zero operations in the UK by 2027.

Vodafone is taking a major step forward in renewables in the UK, taking another big step in its ambitions of ‘net zero’ from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro.

The “self-powered” mast incorporates a unique Crossflow Energy wind turbine that can generate power even in light winds. The mast can be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electrical cables, making it quicker and easier to install and reducing the impact on the local environment.

It is also extremely quiet, making it viable for sensitive sites such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It can also be ‘filtered’ as a solid object by radar, birds and bats, so it is easily avoided, making it less harmful to wildlife.

The trial, in partnership with wind turbine technology specialists Crossflow Energy and mobile infrastructure partner Cornerstone, is taking place at Home Farm in the village of Eglwyswrw. It will run for two years and the data gathered will help Vodafone optimize the technology and determine which sites are best suited for ‘self-powered’ masts.

Bringing mobile and internet services to rural communities helps boost the local economy, fight isolation and reduce the rural digital divide. To date, the construction of pylons in “non-point” coverage areas without an existing electricity connection has represented a significant financial and logistical challenge.

Vodafone UK has pledged to achieve net zero operations in the UK by 2027.

Andrea Dona, Network Manager and Development Manager, Vodafone
Connectivity is vital for everyone, no matter where you live. This self-powered mobile phone mast, with on-site battery storage, could help us connect places that were previously inaccessible. It will also help us reduce carbon emissions and minimize our impact on local environments. If this trial is successful, we would like to deploy more “self-powered” masts, focusing on areas with little or no coverage.

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