Orange and Engie join forces to fit Ivory Coast data centre with solar power

Multinational telecommunications company, Orange, has signed an ‘Energy as a Service’ (EaaS) contract with Engie to convert their Groupement Orange Services (GOS) data centre in Côte d’Ivoire to solar power. 

By installing a solar plant on rooftops and solar carports, for a total installed capacity of 355 kilowatts peak (kWp), it is hoped that the facility will be able to reduce its environmental footprint, minimise the share of commercial electricity it uses from non-renewable sources, and avoid using fuel generators. The commissioning is scheduled for the second half of 2022. 

The 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, meaning the data centre will directly use the energy as it is produced by the Sun. This will cover close to 60 per cent of the data centre’s daytime consumption through the hours of 7am to 6pm. 

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 per cent of renewables in the energy mix. 

The GOS is 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 data centre was built in 2016 in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, on a site covering 16,600 m². It 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 Orange’s data centre network in Africa, which has Uptime Institute Tier 3 certification design, consolidating its 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. 

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, such as equipping 5,400 telecoms sites with solar panels and building solar farms in Jordan and Mali. We intend to go further.” 

Armand Seya, CEO of ENGIE Services West Africa said: “Engie Africa is active in electricity production, energy services, and decentralised 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 data centre since 2019, and now with the implementation of this solar plant.” 

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