Docomo to trial 'disaster-proof' solar base stations

The Japanese telco will field test mobile-network base stations installed with solar panels and rechargeable batteries from April, to mitigate impact from power cuts.

Japan's Docomo will field test three conventional mobile-network base stations that have been installed with solar panels, high-capacity rechargeable batteries and green power controllers.

This is part of its development of disaster-proof, environmentally friendly base stations following the natural disasters in 2011 , according to a press release last Friday.

The telco said the equipment will be used to establish 10 green base stations in the Kanto-Koshinetsu region of Japan by the fourth quarter of 2013, including the first three in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Yamanashi prefectures.

base station docomo
One of Docomo's solar-powered base stations to be tested. (Credit Docomo)

The base stations feature solar panels to generate and store power during the daytime, and are able to run on rechargeable batteries which can store 14-16 hours' worth of power.

"Solar panel power generation can be used during disaster-induced blackouts to operate facilities during the day and store any excess power for nighttime use," said the company in the statement.

Going forward, new features could include the introduction of fuel cell technologies and wind-powered base stations.

The 2011 quake had disrupted telcommunications infrastructure , leaving the telephone lines unusable. Many instead turned to social networks to communicate .