Polar Power, Inc., a global provider of prime, backup and solar hybrid DC power solutions, has entered the wireless infrastructure market in Namibia, Africa with the creation of its new wholly owned subsidiary, Polar Power Africa, headquartered in Windhoek, Namibia.
Subsequent to the completion of the Polar Power Africa subsidiary, the company has received its first telecom tower site purchase order from Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC), the largest mobile operator in Namibia, Africa, with over two million active subscribers, in conjunction with its 081 Every1 project.
The MTC 081 Every1 project, which aims to erect 524 new towers over the next two years in rural Namibia is a N$1.2-billion-dollar project and was officially launched in July 2017, by Deputy Minister of ICT, Stanley Simataa.
It was initiated in response to MTC’s desire to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Namibia, ensure that all Namibians have access to quality networks, mobile connectivity, broadband accessibility and access to the information superhighway in line with the spirit of Harambee. Multiple contractors have also been selected and those contractors with the best performance will continue with the 524-site rollout.
The Polar Power Africa subsidiary will be led by two of Polar Power’s international sales directors, Andre Herbst and Michael Mullen. Both have a combined 50 years’ experience in cell site and tower installations in remote locations across the globe.
The complete cell site project will encompass two phases. Phase one will encompass tower installation with average project duration of two months and phase two will include Solar DC hybrid power systems installation with average project duration of three months.
Polar Power Africa receives 25% of the tower site installation cost upfront and the balance after Phase 1 project completion. Phase 2 places Polar Power Africa in a strategic position to incorporate its lithium battery powered hybrid solar systems to complete the new cell site.
Polar Power Africa currently has $0.8 million in Phase 1 purchase orders for new telecommunications sites in Namibia and anticipates more cell site tower construction purchase orders this year before Phase 2 purchase orders for Polar’s hybrid solar DC power systems begin.
“This strategic direction of offering complete cell sites with power systems less the radios and antennas in the international market helped elevate a marketing obstacle we experienced over the past year,” said Polar Power CEO, Arthur Sams. “We encountered projects where the tower operators and the telecom carriers (MNO’s) outsourced both the cell site construction and the power systems to general contractors who were not in the position of evaluating new technologies. Therefore, it made sense to compete with these general contractors in order to acquire the power and cooling requirements,” explained Sams.
“These initial 10 cell sites incorporating Polar DC products will showcase our power and cooling solutions advancing the technology of the cell site infrastructure. We believe our initial blueprint will set a new standard for contractors to follow and we will be pleased to supply them the power systems,” continued Sams.
“Creating a wholly owned subsidiary on the ground in Africa now enables Polar Power with direct access to our customer base in Southern Africa. As a direct benefit of our new subsidiary, we expect Polar Power Africa to have access to various free trading zones throughout Africa including AfCFTA and SACU. This project will validate our presence and capabilities in Africa and foster our expansion in other markets overseas. We are proud to be able to create local clean industry jobs in Namibia and believe our hybrid solar DC power systems provide ecologically comprehensive solutions to the market. These operations fall in line with our culture of corporate social responsibility and desired contribution to global environmental governance,” concluded Sams.
“The 081 Every1 project with 524 telecom sites represents a large market opportunity for Polar Power as it creates two new revenue streams and higher net margins when you incorporate Phase 2 purchase orders of our lithium battery powered hybrid solar systems,” said Polar Power CFO Luis Zavala. “We are seeing similar trends in other countries and anticipate replicating this model in the years to come. From a capital expenditures perspective, we see very little disruption to our working capital as we receive upfront payments for the sites and project duration is low,” concluded Zavala.