Cellcom Partners with Sonkyo Energy to Enhance Green Cell Site Efficiency


New Wind Turbine to Collect More Energy During "Dark Months"

Chambers Island, WI (November 27, 2012) – In an effort to harvest more energy during the dark fall and winter months, Cellcom has partnered with Sonkyo Energy to add a new, larger wind turbine to its green cell site on Chambers Island in Door County, Wis. The site is one of Cellcom's two alternative-energy cell sites that use a combination of solar panels and a wind turbine to operate.

Solar power is the cell site's main energy source and it steadily climbs beginning in March, with peak energy from the sun occurring in June through August. Solar power then begins to decline in late August, until it reaches its minimum from late October through February when cloud cover is very heavy in northeastern Wisconsin. To compensate for the decreased sunlight during these months, Cellcom has added a new, larger wind turbine to capture more wind energy for the cell site.

"In the past we've had to constantly adjust the capacity of the cell site during winter months due to lack of energy being produced," said Bob Sobieck, director of RF engineering at Cellcom. "The new wind turbine addresses this issue and capitalizes on increasing wind speeds that occur from October through February."

The new wind turbine, manufactured by Sonkyo Energy, will keep the cell site running at its full potential year round. The turbine is 13.5 feet in diameter, which is four-and-a-half-feet larger than the previous turbine. The height of the tower was also increased, giving the turbine more room to operate. As a result the turbine has a maximum output that is 3.5 times that of the old turbine.

"The energy sources at our cell site need to produce at least 400 kilowatt hours per month to power the cell site, and more to keep the back-up batteries charged," said Sobieck. "The previous wind turbine produced an average of 180 kilowatt hours a month, leaving us at a deficit during the coldest, darkest days of winter when the solar panels have little sunlight to collect. The new turbine has the potential to produce over 600 kilowatt hours per month under the same conditions, giving our cell site the power it needs to run when there is not adequate sunlight. This will keep the cell site running at its full potential year round."

Sonkyo specializes in small wind turbines, including the Windspot 3.5 turbine that Cellcom is using. 

"Over 44 years of experience has gone into the design of the Windspot turbine," said Dan Johnson, US Managing Director at Sonkyo Energy. "Each turbine is specifically wound to the application and we are excited to see our design used for this off-grid application."

Cellcom's Chambers Island renewable energy cell site was built and turned on in 2008 in response to the insufficient cellular coverage on the island and along the western shore of Door County. Chambers Island had no commercial source of electricity, and getting a cell signal was further complicated by the influence of the water boundaries. The cell site improved service for residential customers and visitors to the island, and also delivers enhanced radio coverage for public safety departments.

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Cellcom is an innovative wireless company that provides nationwide service for its customer base throughout Wisconsin and Michigan, with nearly 80 retail and agent locations. Cellcom is respected for its long-standing reputation of delivering extraordinary customer care, being a strong community partner, and for its renowned network, which is customized to its rural markets. As a subsidiary of Nsight, Cellcom is part of a family of companies offering complete telecommunications services.