Talk by a member of LINCS Scientific Committee “On the Use of Small Solar Panels and Small Batteries to Reduce the RAN Carbon Footprint”

Speaker : Marco Ajmone Marsan
Politecnico di Torino
Date: 25/11/2020
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Teams + LINCS Seminar Rooms


The limited power requirements of new generations of base stations make the use of renewable energy sources, solar in particular, extremely attractive for mobile network operators. Exploiting solar energy implies a reduction of the network operation cost as well as of the carbon footprint of radio access networks. However, previous research works indicate that the area of the solar panels that are necessary to power a standard macro base station (BS) is large, making the solar panel deployment problematic, especially within urban areas. In this paper we use a modeling approach based on Markov reward processes to investigate the possibility of combining a connection to the power grid with small area solar panels and small batteries to run a macro base station. By so doing, it is possible to exploit a significant fraction of renewable energy to run a radio access network, while also reducing the cost incurred by the network operator to power its base stations. We assume that energy is drawn from the power grid only when needed to keep the BS operational, or during the night, which corresponds to the period with lowest electricity price. The proposed energy management policies have advantages in terms of both cost and carbon footprint. Our results show that solar panels of the order of 1-2 kW peak, i.e., with a surface of about 5-10 square meters, combined with limited capacity energy storage (of the order of 1-5 kWh, corresponding to about 1-2 car batteries) and a smart energy management policy, can lead to an effective exploitation of renewable energy.


Marco Ajmone Marsan is full professor at the Electronics and Telecommunications Department of the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, and part-time research professor at IMDEA Networks Institute in Leganes, Spain. He obtained degrees in EE from the Politecnico di Torino and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received a honorary doctoral degree from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Since 1974 he has been at Politecnico di Torino, in the different roles of an academic career, with an interruption from 1987 to 1990, when he was a full professor at the Computer Science Department of the University of Milan. Marco Ajmone Marsan has been doing research in the fields of digital transmission, distributed systems and networking. He was a member of the editorial board and of the steering committee of the “ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking”. He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals “Computer Networks”and “Performance Evaluation”of Elsevier, and of the “ACM Transactions on Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems”. He served in the organizing committee of several leading networking conferences, and he was general chair of INFOCOM 2013. Marco Ajmone Marsan is a Fellow of the IEEE, a member of the Academy of Sciences of Torino, and a member of Academia Europaea.