Digicel has chosen Vanuatu as the site of its green power mobile network in which the power will be generated from a combination of wind and solar power.

According to a press release last week by the Global System for Mobile communications Association (GSMA), Digicel, supported by the GSMA Development Fund, has completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solutions to power 25 base stations on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu.
'Digicel, which is the leading mobile operator in Vanuatu, now carries more than 60% of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources'.

'Typically, off-grid base stations have been powered by generators running on diesel, which is increasingly erratic in price, is costly to distribute and generates carbon dioxide emissions. Digicel's approach of using solar, wind and hybrid power provides a more cost-effective and reliable solution than either solar cells or wind turbines alone, to bring GSM coverage to some of the most remote communities in Vanuatu'.

"By implementing alternative sources of energy, we are able to connect the unconnected, making communications accessible to many in Vanuatu for the first time," said Tanya Menzies, CEO of Digicel Vanuatu. "The work we are doing in Vanuatu is particularly important to the Digicel Group, as it's serving as a model for alternative power deployments for other Digicel networks around the world."

According to the press release, in 2009, Digicel plans to install a new wind turbine to an existing wind farm to power a portion of its sites, enabling the operator to reduce its annual power bill by an order of magnitude.

"The GSMA created the Green Power for Mobile programme with two objectives in mind: to promote the use of green power to expand mobile networks into regions currently lacking coverage, and to facilitate the systematic reduction of reliance on diesel by operators," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA. "Our work with Digicel further demonstrates the commercial viability of implementing renewable energy systems on a broad scale and has helped establish best practices for future green power projects."