CETIN Hungary is constantly looking for innovative solutions to make its operations more sustainable. To this end, the company is testing the efficiency of using locally produced green energy to power its base stations in three settlements – Gyál, Dunaharaszti and Érd.
One of Hungary's largest, neutral integrated telecommunications infrastructure service providers operates 3,900 base stations at around 4,000 sites. The company is now investigating how efficiently and to what extent solar power can meet their electricity needs.
"CETIN is committed to modern, efficient and high-availability technologies to support the protection of our environment," said Tamás Ötvös, Chairman of the Board of CETIN Hungary Zrt. and Regional Chief Technology Officer at CETIN Group. “Our goal is to find sustainable solutions for the energy efficiency of our mobile telecommunications network infrastructure in the long term. Therefore, we are eagerly excited to start operational testing of solar systems in three of our Hungarian base stations."
"Energy efficiency utilizing preferably energy from clean sources is a major challenge for all actors in all sectors. The demand for telecommunications services is constantly growing, and this growth can only be sustained if solutions are found for the increasing ratio of renewable energy utilization. The responsible ministry welcomes energy efficiency investment and tests as they contribute to the achievement of climate neutrality goals of Hungary." – added dr. Károly Balázs Solymár, Deputy State Secretary for Technology at the Ministry of Technology and Industry.
The six months pilot projects will test the installation of photovoltaic solar systems under real conditions in several different configurations, monitoring the authorization procedure, electricity savings and possible deployment methods and applications. The results of the pilot will be used to decide on a sustainable transformation of the electricity supply with significant environmental benefits, taking into account the actual energy policy environment and incentives.
Solar panels basically generate direct current (DC), and telecommunication equipment at base stations also use DC. The national electricity system, the transmission grid, on the other hand, supplies alternating current (AC), and air conditioning systems for cooling base station equipment typically also use AC power. In the first base station tested, in Gyál, the solar panels directly supply the power demand of the telecommunications equipment with the DC current, so no loss materialized with the conversion of DC to AC. The system is not scaled to cover the entire demand, so the additional energy required is provided by the grid.
At the second site in Érd, the DC energy generated will be converted into AC, and is used entirely to supply the power needs of the base station, without any grid feed-back. This experiment will test with what efficiency a larger system could be implemented in the future to fully supply the base station without using grid power.
At the third station, in Dunaharaszti, the DC power generated is also converted to AC power and in this case, it is fed back into the grid – essentially it is the principle of residential solar solutions. Here, a smart power sensor is metering the amount of energy fed back into the grid.
A total of 33 solar panels have been installed at the three base stations participating in the pilot program with a total expected electricity saving of nearly 18.1 MWh per year (seven times the annual energy consumption of an average Hungarian household, starting a dishwasher 9100 times or charging 1.7 million smartphones). The pilots will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 2.2 tons per year per site by harnessing green energy instead of conventional power plants.