Telecoms

Vodacom goes solar in Randburg

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Vodacom's solar initiative to supplement the energy supply of its Randburg base station controller.
Vodacom's solar initiative to supplement the energy supply of its Randburg base station controller.

Vodacom has installed solar panels capable of generating up to 34kW of power, which will supplement the energy supply of its Randburg base station controller in Gauteng.

Vodacom says the new solar panels will help generate more than 50 000kWh of energy on an annual basis to power the Randburg base station controller. This will help reduce the telco's carbon footprint, lower its electricity usage and reduce the base station controller's reliance on batteries, in the event of load-shedding.

"The continuation of our investment in cleaner sources of energy shows Vodacom's commitment to the sustainable growth of our operation and sustainability strategy where the protection of our planet remains key. In the past, we've installed solar panels at Vodacom offices as well as in our network infrastructure; however, using solar energy to power our base station controllers is an area of opportunity for us," says Takalani Netshitenzhe, chief officer for corporate affairs at Vodacom.

The JSE-listed operator adds that South Africa has in recent times been impacted by inconsistent supply of electricity, with capacity constraints resulting in load-shedding, which has an impact on network reliability and operational costs. It believes the most notable feature of the solar panels is its ability to reduce the load on the station controller's batteries.

"As Vodacom continues to expand connectivity and close the digital divide, the company's demand for electricity will continue to rise. Therefore, it is critical that Vodacom extends connectivity and closes the digital divide in a manner that is sustainable with minimal environmental impact," the group says in a statement.

Netshitenzhe adds Vodacom plans to roll out similar energy-saving solar power installations to base station controllers across the country, in the near future; all of which forms part of the mobile network operator's sustainability drive to minimise its environmental impact and contribute towards the network's goal of reducing its carbon footprint.

Vodacom currently has over 950 solar base station sites across its operations in Africa. The telco also installed the largest single rooftop solar installation at its Century City offices in Cape Town in 2012 and Vodacom Lesotho's head office has been powered by solar energy since last year.

The view of the Randburg solar project from above.
The view of the Randburg solar project from above.
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