French telecommunications firm Orange has partnered with utility company Engie to convert its main datacentre in Africa, GOS or Groupement Orange Services, to solar power. The immediate implication is that the telco will reduce its carbon footprint in the Ivory Coast.
This follows an Energy-as-a-Service deal signed between Orange and Engie in December 2021, to convert the GOS to solar power by installing a solar plant on rooftops and solar carports, for a total installed capacity of 355 kWp, to reduce its environmental footprint, minimise the share of commercial electricity from non-renewable sources and avoid using fuel generators (fossil energy that emits CO2).
According to the companies, the commissioning is scheduled for the second half of 2022.
This plant will be made up of 784 latest-generation photovoltaic cells and will provide the datacentre with an estimated 527 MWh/year of renewable energy. Its architecture was designed to work 7 days a week in self-consumption mode, i.e. the datacentre will directly use the energy as it is produced by the sun and this will cover close to 60% of the datacentre’s daytime (7 am – 6 pm) consumption.
The initiative to convert the GOS to solar power is consistent with the plan adopted by the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, which aims to make the country the sub-region’s energy hub by 2030 with 42% of renewables in the energy mix (see National Renewable Energy Action Plan – PANER 2016-2020/2030).
Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa said: “This project is a first in West Africa for Orange in terms of its size and scope and it perfectly illustrates our ambition to speed up our solar projects in order to achieve net zero carbon by 2040. In the rest of Africa and the Middle East we have already implemented several initiatives, as equipping 5,400 telecoms sites by solar panels and building solar farms in Jordan and Mali. We intend to go further.”
Armand Seya, CEO of ENGIE Services West Africa added: “Engie Africa is active in electricity production, energy services and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers across the continent. We are proud to support the GOS in its energy transition having ensured the multi-technical maintenance of the datacentre since 2019 and now with the implementation of this solar plant.”
Orange said GOS is one of the components of the Orange datacentre network in Africa, which has Uptime Institute Tier 3 certification design, and is used to advance digital quality to support key sectors including agriculture, healthcare and education.
The telco described GOS as a resource-pooling entity for the 18 Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) subsidiaries, which provides pooled hosting and infrastructure operation services, service platforms and IT to all the subsidiaries.
The datacentre was built in 2016 in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, on a site covering 16,600m².