Mobile communications are a big business in India, but they traditionally tend to be powered by coal. However Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) is set to change all that — they just announced plans to roll out a set of solar powered cell towers outfitted with batteries made by US-based Boston Power. The WorldGSM communication stations are not tied to the grid and are designed to operate on energy provided by a few solar panels.

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Boston Power specializes in lithium-ion batteries — they will provide the technology for India’s cell phone tower project, which initially was based on traditional lead acid batteries. The batteries can power a tower for up to three days if there is no sunlight.

The concept was actually a result of last year’s World Economic Forum, where the CEOs of both companies met after winning “Technology Pioneer” awards. VNL calls the WorldGSM towers a “microtelecom” product because they are designed to benefit billions of people who would otherwise not be able to use the country’s mobile phone network. The WorldGSM base stations are being tested now and are set for deployment in different areas this year.


Solar-powered cellphone towers operate off-grid, do not rely upon fossil fuels, and could bring cellular networks to remote areas that currently do not have them.

+ Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL)