Orange has tapped Engie to install solar panels at its Ivory Coast data center.

The telco’s Tier III-certified GOS (Groupement Orange Services) data center was built in 2016 in Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire, on a site covering 16,600 sqm (179,000 sq ft); it hosts IT and telecommunication equipment supporting services for all 18 of the company’s African & Middle Eastern subsidiaries.

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. The commissioning is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

Solar panels and horses
– Sebastian Moss

"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."

The project will see Engie install 784 photovoltaic cells and will provide the data center with an estimated 527 MWh/year of renewable energy; this will cover close to 60 percent of the 1.3MW facility's daytime (7 am - 6 pm) consumption.

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 data center since 2019 and now with the implementation of this solar plant."

Orange described the GOS as a ‘resource-pooling entity’ for its 18 MEA subsidiaries, providing pooled hosting and infrastructure operation services, service platforms, and IT to all the subsidiaries. Engie was selected for the operation and maintenance of the data center, located outside Abidjan, for a five-year contract in 2019.

Orange aims to be carbon neutral by 2040. Earlier this month the telco signed a 36MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Enertrag for its Polish operations, following solar PPAs in France with Total and Engie totaling more than 130MW last year. Last month the company launched a €50 million ($56.3m) carbon fund to finance reforestation and ecological restoration projects.

The Government of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire aims to make the country an energy hub by 2030, with 42 percent of renewables in its energy mix.

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