Fast Company

Ericsson, Orange Sending Solar-Powered Cell Coverage to Africa

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While many of us struggle to tear ourselves away from computers and cell phones, communities in rural Africa deal with a different problem: lack of communication.

Orange Guinea Conakry and Ericcson announced last week a plan to send over 100 solar-powered radio base stations to countries including Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Reunion and Senegal. Over 1000 stations will be deployed by the end of the year.

Ericcson's BTS 2111 base station uses a hybrid diesel-battery along with solar panels to extend the lifetime of the battery. The energy-efficient generator slashes energy costs by up to 50 percent compared to diesel generators, and requires minimal maintenance -- a major plus for remote areas.

Solar-powered communication devices are also gaining traction in the United States, as both Samsung and LG announced plans this week to launch cell phones equipped with solar panels.

Via WebWire

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