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Powering cell phone towers with wind

Southern California pilot program to test Helix Wind's small wind turbines to run cell phone towers.

Helix Wind's The S322 vertical wind turbine Helix Wind

Helix Wind announced Wednesday that it's beginning a trial run in Southern California to see if its wind turbines might be useful for powering cell phone towers.

The manufacturer is becoming known for its small vertical-axis wind turbines that can generate electricity with winds as low as 10 mph, as well as itsunique business model to finance them.

The pilot program, conducted in conjunction with cell phone tower operator Core Communications, will experiment with whether the turbines powering cell phone towers could also generate surplus energy to sell back to the energy grid.

If they generate enough surplus power, small wind turbines could provide a new source of income for cell phone tower operators as well as a new power source.

Helix Wind's turbines, which will be installed in early 2010, will run for up to three months before being re-evaluated.

According to statistics provided by Helix Wind, there are approximately 3,500 cell phone towers in Southern California, and another 1,000 expected to be added in the next five years to cover consumer growth.