NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s cellphone base station in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo Inc. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan's leading cellphone carrier, is planning to enter the power generation business, President and CEO Ryuji Yamada told The Asahi Shimbun.
Starting in fiscal 2012, the company will install solar panels and wind power generators near its cellphone signal base stations. In a few years, it plans to begin selling surplus power generated at the base stations.
"We will build base stations that are environment-friendly. We will consider selling any surplus power," Yamada said on July 7.
Softbank Corp., another telecommunications network operator, is working with prefectural governments across Japan to build solar power plants.
NTT DoCoMo has about 90,000 base stations across Japan. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the company started developing "green base stations" equipped with solar generators.
The cellphone carrier plans to build about 10 such base stations across Japan in fiscal 2012, and will develop a "smart grid" distribution system using computer technology to optimize control of the supply and demand of power between 2013 and 2015.
Power from utilities will be used to compensate for fluctuations in wind and solar power, and surplus power will be stored in batteries to respond to peaks in demand or supply cuts.
(This article was written by Junichiro Nagasaki and Jun Wakamatsu.)