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Orange and Engie to convert Orange’s main data centre in Africa to solar power

Orange and Engie to convert Orange’s main data centre in Africa to solar power

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The Groupement Orange Services (GOS), a resource-pooling entity for the 18 Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) subsidiaries, provides pooled hosting and infrastructure operation services, service platforms and IT to all the subsidiaries. The data centre in Africa was built in 2016 in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, on a site covering 16,600 m² and hosts IT and telecommunication equipment which support the services provided by the GOS to all OMEA subsidiaries.

The GOS is one of the components of the Orange data centre network in Africa, which has Uptime Institute Tier 3 certification design, consolidating Orange’s position as a key player in the sub-region’s economic ecosystem. It helps to advance digital equality by supporting states to develop agricultural, educational and healthcare services and fosters entrepreneurship and local innovation.

In December 2021, Orange signed an EaaS (Energy-as-a-Service) contract with Engie 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). 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 data centre with an estimated 527 MWh/year of renewable energy. Its architecture was designed to work seven days a week in self-consumption mode, i.e. the data centre will directly use the energy as it is produced by the Sun (during the day). This will cover close to 60% of the data centre’s daytime (7am-6pm) 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).

“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,” said Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa. “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.”

“Engie Africa is active in electricity production, energy services and decentralised solutions for off-grid customers across the continent,” said Armand Seya, CEO of ENGIE Services West Africa. “We are proud to support the GOS in its energy transition having ensured the multi-technical maintenance of the data centre since 2019 and now with the implementation of this solar plant.”

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