T-Mobile Installs First Solar-Powered Cell Tower

We caught wind of this a few days ago thanks to an article from GigaOM but with the whole G2 news cycle it kind of got lost in the fold. Sometimes though we have to congratulate a carrier for taking the first step in an environmentally friendly manner. T-Mobile is that carrier today having announced their very first Solar Powered cell tower in Pennsylvania. The site itself will generate enough power to keep itself off the electric grid and at times, feed back power into that grid. The tower itself while costing 2-3 times the normal price of a standard cell tower can have financial and of course positive marketing impact over the long run.

GigaOM

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  • Robert

    Yah, but does it have a front facing camera?

    • http://www.twitter.com/E_huxtable Eric

      loooooooool

    • Lance

      lolz, great!

    • Greg

      lolololol, wish this was like facebook so I can like that comment!!!

      • Eddie Android

        Facebook? What are you 10?

      • policia

        @eddie: just fyi, Facebook TOS requires users to be at least 13 years of age.

    • David Thomas

      Best use of that comment ever.

    • wack mode

      Wack Mode Likes This

    • SurgioArmani

      The panel’s not big enough. Should be .3 inches larger. #FAIL

    • NiiDiddy

      HAHA—that’s the bomb right there…FFC!!! LMAO :)

    • sorandkairi

      i”ll join this circus… epic that comment was

    • FloridaGuy

      ROFLOL …. too good.

  • pete

    no1 cares about this.

    • 30014

      You cared enough to comment dumb ass.

    • David Thomas

      “I don’t care about this” is what you meant to type.

  • Vibrant Guy

    I wonder if this can have the impact of some of the other things they have done first. Like the g1 to the g2. Way to go t mobile.

  • currator

    just if they could figure out how to make a tower hspa+ with no new fiber being feed into it. lol

  • sino8r

    Ah, that’s why my service sucks so bad.

  • Darnell

    What a WASTE. For the sake of environmental marketing. This thing will never bring returns on investment. With maintenance and upgrade needs, it will always be something that costs more. Causing customers to pay more. Causing customers to have to work more to pay the bill.

    Solar is simply not yet able to bring good returns for high power needs, because the panels cannot yet harness enough solar energy.

    Nuclear power is the best option.

    • fryhole

      Yeah. T-Mobile should have built a cell tower with a nuclear power plant attached to it. Great idea. That makes way more sense than this.

      • Darnell

        No, best option for them is to use conventional power till nuclear power comes to that area. Ask France.

      • Nope

        I think the was nuclear power in that area it was called three mile island.

      • Darnell

        Today’s plants are way better than some old poorly managed plant in Russia.

        Nuclear offers the most power for the lowest overall costs. Fear is causing much waste by avoiding it.

      • Applehater

        3 Mile Island was in PA, not Russia.

    • David Thomas

      You’re absurd, sir. You’re insisting that they don’t invest in the future for the sake of making YOU comfortable right this very exact moment. Most selfish thing I’ve read all day.

    • fryhole

      Oh right. Because everyone should do nothing on an individual level, and wait for the government to bankroll loans to build a nuclear power plant in 15 years. Or we could you know, make small changes to our infrastructure in increments or not pretend that a solar installation will never make a return on its investment.

  • Chris

    Feed power back? Now that’s impressive.

  • Vibrant Guy

    Is there anyone here who actually likes T-Mobile? I guess I’m just shocked at all the negative comments on every post lol wow.

    • NiiDiddy

      Vibrant Guy: I love T-Mobile. I just think most people on here are just having a little bit of fun with this post, that’s all. Think of it as a way to wind down. Then again they love T-mobile, that is why they have to bitch when they feel the company may be going a direction that doesn’t help them. [it's like politics LMAO]. Lighten up…it’s all good and gravy :)

  • STANTHEMAN

    AND JUST WHAT WILL U DO WITH THE RADIOACTIVE WASTE FROM NUCLEAR POWER WAY TO GO T-MOBILE KEEP OWER EARTH CLEAN AND KEEP UP THE GUD WORK

    • Rilesman

      What would you do with the panels themselves or the waste made from making them?

  • mikeeeee

    @darnell, with what i’m writing about below, it makes perfect sense for rural remote areas.

    up in rural iowa, I-wireless has towers in remote areas connected my microwave arrays instead of fiber for backhaul.

    this would greatly help in solving the quandary of not enough towers for sure.

    all you urban dwellers…………

    punch in 50472 and know t-mo has great coverage there and with a good phone, if the tower’s down, the one in 55593 12 miles away will cover you.

    nice to know you can take your phone almost anywhere and still have it working for you.

    now imagine driving down the road when it’s blowing snow and 10 below zero and a woman with a couple of kids is in the ditch, nice to have a working phone then.

    ps; darnell, the area above is in the biggest wind farm in the country.

    • Darnell

      I definitely respect the argument of this sort of thing for very rural areas, that are hard to reach via other power sources.

      Doing this sort of thing for style points, when it’s not the most cost effective solution for my bill, that gets under my skin.

      For very remote areas though, it’s a sound option to use.

      But speaking honestly, T-Mobile still has some work to do in getting their network up to par even in some populated areas :) . But hey, so far they’re the cheapest big coverage area carrier I can find with decent devices :) .

  • Jrsykind

    Awesome!

  • blah

    So if I drive out to Pennsylvania and throw a blanket over this thing will I take out the cell reception of all tmo customers in the area? That be a pretty funny April Fools joke.

    • Santi-Go.!

      Lolll Great Idea

  • dvd03

    No flash = fail

    • Sirmac

      Sorry, the first joke was funny… Yours has no substance….

  • Backup Power

    Many cell phone tower sites are required to have battery backup power that will only last 2-4 hours during a power outage. So this solar array might eliminate the need for battery backup. I think it is a good idea for many locations.

    Solar panels are very durable, so they can produce power for 20+ years. The break even point for panels is probably 15-20 years at current rates, but coal electric prices are going up and will continue to go up due to negative environmental costs finally being accounted for and mitigated.

    I’m surprised they didn’t elevate it a little higher due to vandalism and theft issues. Maybe they have a good remote monitoring and security system in place.

  • Rilesman

    Companies in Africa have been doing this for a while but usually have windpower to compliment the solar.

  • Backup Power

    Those white pines they planted will have to be cut down in 10-20 years when they start shading the panels. DUH!

  • http://Icomplainabouteverything.com Avg Tmo News poster

    So this Solar thing aka Project Dark is getting the Froyo update but not my (insert phone)!!! It doesn’t even have FFC or LED dual flash. I heard its not going to have quad core, or 24k gold usb connectors, nor a LED 240hz 3D 5″ screen thats F-R-E-E off contract. :) Im switching to Sprint and getting the Evo!! lol

  • mtnman

    I think this is mainly for back-up purpose. After all if the cell towers go down, or maintenance is going on, this would keep up the service until the regular tower is back up. But then again this will suffer from nature as well since it’s also subject to wind storms, ice/snow, and hail damaging the solar panals.

  • Marshall

    I want to know why there are a few Sprint and Epic 4g advertisements on a T-Mobile website? lol…

    • David, Managing Editor

      The websites gotta make money and we can’t always pick the ads that run!

  • hilltops

    no 1 cares about this

  • http://daleoffret.com Dale Offret

    Self contained cell towers would be a boon to remote areas where existing power does not exist. Cell towers have to be put in places where money has been dropped just to put power into it even before the cell tower is built. I lived rural areas before moving to a “big city”. Now I enjoy great coverage throughout the city. In the rural areas I would have to “schedule” my phone conversation as I drove. I would tell people I had to pull over to finish the conversation or drop the call because I was going into a mountain valley.

    Self contained towers could be place in better coverage spots not dependent upon the existence of power lines.

    Good work T-Mo. Show the big carrier how it is done!

    • Rilesman

      If you could maintain line of sight with microwave comms between then rural areas would greatly benefit.

  • miketmobile

    im still wondering about that front facing camera

  • TMOSINCE2000

    Yea but the Iphone can do APP’S

  • jmts80

    Solar powered antennas would make more sense in a city like Phoenix. It would help to improve my coverage too! :)

    • Sirmac

      Thats what I was thinking, a tmobile solar tower would love it out here!

  • Vibrant Addict

    These would be a great addition in Florida. Lots of sun and would vastly help with the spotty reception areas.

  • http://toilet.se ronny

    Why Pennsylvania? Wouldn’t it be smarter to put it in the southwest or Hawaii?

  • Greg

    I work for T-Mobile. We have had solar powered sites for a couple of years. This is not new. This is the first solar power site in Pennsylvania. They are generally deployed in areas where commercial power is not an option.

  • ShortySk8n

    I think solar powered cell sites is a great idea. I question the location for the 1st one though. Pennsylvania is a funny choice for it though. Never thought of Pennsylvania as a sunny place? Then there’s the winter. On the other hand Las Vegas, We have more sun then we can use all year long. Seems like a better place for solar? But kudo’s to Tmo for trying.

  • s Hugus

    At least it’s better and more useful than a solar trash compactor. That seems to be all our town has. Folks the US is really far behind on this technology. Let’s see more solar technology.

  • Asad Farooq

    Can any dear-one sent (asad.farooq@hotmail.com) more techncial detail of this application? Doing a research papper & need assistance to explain its technicallitly !!