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Telecoms | Solar hybrid power company targets Nigeria

Telecoms | Solar hybrid power company targets Nigeria
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Polar Power, Inc., a provider of prime and backup DC power solutions, says it plans to expand its business into Nigeria, under initial expansion focus on key African markets.

The company announced this following the new Regional Sales and Service Hub sited in Cape Town, South Africa says it is initially focusing on countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

Polar Power says it is driving the African telecoms market expansion as economies on the continent have been rapidly expanding as subscribers increase throughout the continent due to telecoms infrastructure improvements and declining prices in mobile phones.

According to the 2016 GSMA Mobile Economy Africa Report, the global subscriber penetration rate now stands at 63%, with regional penetration rates ranging from 43% in Sub-Saharan Africa to 85% in Europe. Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s most under-penetrated region saw an annual subscriber growth from 2010-2015 of more than 13% versus 3% in North America over the same period. Regional variations in data usage are significant, with the majority of data usage coming from North America and Europe, where subscribers on average today consume 4.4 GB and 1.8 GB per month respectively, compared to around 0.5 GB per subscriber across Africa. Mobile internet adoption in Africa continues to grow rapidly; the number of mobile internet subscribers tripled in the last five years to 300 million by the end of 2015, with an additional 250 million expected by 2020.

“Regional variations in data usage are significant, with the majority of data usage coming from North America and Europe, where subscribers on average today consume 4.4 GB and 1.8 GB per month respectively, compared to around 0.5 GB per subscriber across Africa. Mobile internet adoption in Africa continues to grow rapidly; the number of mobile internet subscribers tripled in the last five years to 300 million by the end of 2015, with an additional 250 million expected by 2020.”

Mobile market….Technology Times file photo shows a phone shop at Ikeja Computer Village in Lagos
Mobile market….Technology Times file photo shows a phone shop at Ikeja Computer Village in Lagos

“We believe the current challenges of a limited power grid and availability of year-long solar resources present a unique opportunity for our DC solar hybrid products to power expanding telecommunications tower infrastructure,” said Polar Power CEO, Arthur Sams. “The higher efficiency of our DC products combined with our proprietary integration of solar and lithium ion batteries can reduce operating costs, a key cost driver in operations of telecom towers in off-grid and bad-grid applications.”

The mobile telecom tower market in Africa faces infrastructure and operational challenges due to the lack of a stable grid in urban and rural areas, resulting in reliance on expensive diesel used to power network infrastructures. According to 2016 GSMA analysis there currently are 240,000 telecom towers providing mobile coverage to the continent with expected growth to 325,000 by 2020. A majority of these towers are located in rural and suburban areas challenged by unreliable or lack of electrical grid.

Under the plan, Polar Power says it has appointed Andre Herbst to Director of Telecom Sales and Business Development Africa.

In conjunction with Herbst’s appointment, the Company plans to expand operations in Africa and establish regional sales and service hubs in the region utilizing Polar Power’s DC solar hybrid power systems to address the expanding and under-penetrated telecommunications market, the company says.

“To support our strategic initiatives we are pleased to have Mr. Herbst lead the effort, who has over 20 years’ experience in the African region managing telecommunications infrastructure. Mr. Herbst has held senior management positions for leading telecom companies including: MTN Iran, Eltek Valere Dubai, Huawei Nigeria, Millicom Pakistan, Ericsson Cameroon and most recently focusing on hybrid power systems at Camusat,” Sams adds.

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