Planning solar in energy-managed cellular networks

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There has been a lot of interest recently on the energy efficiency and environmental impact of wireless networks. Given that the base stations are the network elements that use most of this energy, much research has dealt with ways to reduce the energy used by the base stations by turning them off during periods of low load. In addition to this, installing a solar harvesting system composed of solar panels, batteries, charge controllers and inverters is another way to further reduce the network environmental impact and some research has been dealing with this for individual base stations. In this paper, we show that both techniques are tightly coupled. We propose a mathematical model that captures the synergy between solar installation over a network and the dynamic operation of energy-managed base stations. We study the interactions between the two methods for networks of hundreds of base stations and show that the order in which each method is introduced into the system does make a difference in terms of cost and performance. We also show that installing solar is not always the best solution even when the unit cost of the solar energy is smaller than the grid cost. We conclude that planning the solar installation and energy management of the base stations have to be done jointly.

, 26 pages

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