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NEC XON signs cooperation agreement for sub-Sahara Africa with INCELL International

NEC XON has partnered with INCELL International to use its smart lithium technology to serve the needs of wireless and tower communications operators, macro and small cell sites, and the commercial and industrial sectors specifically with off-grid, micro-grid and backup solutions.

Magnus Coetzee, MD of NEC XON's Alternative Energy division and Stefan Jansson, INCELL International CEO.

INCELL develops some of the world's most advanced lithium batteries to provide backup power for telecoms sites and employs innovative engineering controls to successfully make lithium solutions that are safe for robust industrial-commercial applications.

"INCELL's smart lithium batteries use half the space of lead acid batteries, weigh a quarter, and provide five times the energy density. These smart lithium cells also have a much longer service life, especially in cyclic environments," says Magnus Coetzee, MD of NEC XON's Alternative Energy division. "They're designed for indoor and outdoor use so you can literally disconnect lead acid batteries, connect these, and walk away."

INCELL International CEO, Stefan Jansson, says, "NEC XON has a very strong presence in Africa. Our technologies meet some of the industry's greatest challenges on the continent, such as the need for a small footprint, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), anti-theft, automatic reconnect, and ease of use."

Coetzee adds that there is low electrical energy penetration across vast tracts of Africa.

"This partnership will help us take energy opportunities to previously neglected areas, coupled with renewable technologies such as solar and wind," he says.

Jansson and Coetzee believe the partnership will support the needs of the market in replacing lead acid batteries. Those batteries have comparatively short lifecycles at just a couple of years compared with greater than 10 years for INCELL smart lithium batteries in field tests. Lead acid is suitable for domestic use, which makes it a target for criminals, while lithium technology is useless to them.

Energy storage, particularly in the commercial and industrial sector, has traditionally not delivered the requisite returns on investment (ROI), says Coetzee. But innovative technologies encapsulated in the INCELL engineering have developed strong business cases for storage based on field use, particularly for backup, peak shifting, and peak shaving cases.

"Telecoms networks are becoming smarter," Jansson. "They increasingly need critical services such as emergency calls and connected security devices and they have to deal with regional challenges such as theft, remote solutions and solutions with small footprints," says Jansson. "Lithium technology and the intelligence we embed in the devices ensures operators get better availability, lower TCO, reduced theft, and the interrogative data they need to manage and control their services."

Jointly NEC XON and INCELL offer solutions and services for smart lithium power backup which will help the mobile operators and tower companies improve predictability and lower the operational cost.

This cost-effective energy storage also improves the case for photovoltaic solar energy solutions that are particularly beneficial across Africa's sun-profuse landscape. The continent is also characterised by vast distances, which make supporting generator solutions difficult and costly. Other socio-economic factors also make generator systems more lucrative targets for criminals.

INCELL is now launching its next-generation smart lithium batteries to sub-Sahara Africa through this exclusive distribution agreement with NEC XON. They introduce a new design with additional features and a technology platform developed for flexibility and robustness. INCELL's product portfolio covers the range from 30 to 250Ah, including 19"- and 23"-wide products and pole-mounted versions ideally suited to 5G rollouts, among others.

In cooperation with NEC XON, INCELL will prepare to manufacture in the African continental free trade area. The partners will establish manufacturing capabilities in South Africa with local services options by NEC XON to better serve continental customers by shortening lead times and reducing costs.

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