Polarium which provides energy storage solutions built on lithium-ion technology for the telecom, commercial, and industrial segments, has announced a new deal with ATC Africa, the African subsidiary of American Tower Corporation.
Since 2017, Polarium says it has helped ATC minimise greenhouse gas emissions and its overall carbon footprint as it transitions away from diesel fuel as the primary fuel source at its sites to energy storage built on lithium-ion battery technology.
Polarium now plans to establish a factory in South Africa to produce energy storage solutions for use in Africa. ATC has signed a multimillion-dollar lithium-ion battery bulk purchase agreement with Polarium, which will support a new energy storage manufacturing plant in South Africa, while securing thousands of lithium-powered backup solutions for ATC’s African markets over the next few years.
Polarium is currently evaluating possible locations in South Africa for the new factory. Around 200 to 300 people will be directly employed in the factory, and equally as many sub-contractors are needed.
Once established, the new factory will be able to produce about 100,000 batteries per year, with the flexibility to expand to 300,000 batteries per year. The first orders from the factory can be placed in the first half of 2022.
As Polarium points out, energy storage for telecom tower sites has historically been a costly and challenging issue. A significant number of wireless telecommunication sites in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to reliable power grid infrastructure and have had to primarily rely on costly diesel fuel generators for power generation.
With addressing this issue presumably in mind, in 2017 Polarium initiated a strategic partnership with ATC – one of the world’s largest communications infrastructure providers with approximately 187,000 communications sites – to drive the transition from diesel generators to lithium battery technology as the de facto source of power backup across its African portfolio.