French telco Orange has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to procure solar power in France.

Orange France and French solar & storage developer ZE Energy this week announced a 15-year deal to offtake 90GWh annually produced by a new hybrid solar power plant being built in Landes.

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Construction started on the solar and storage park – located on 60 hectares of municipal land in Vert – in June 2023. It will be connected to the Enedis electricity distribution network at the start of 2025 and power Orange’s network.

The installation will couple a 77 MWp photovoltaic plant with a lithium-ion battery storage system with a capacity of 14.8MW/33.5MWh.

“Orange France is continuing its renewable energy supply strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of its activities,” said Jean-François Fallacher, deputy managing director of Orange and CEO of Orange France. “This type of PPA guarantees us competitive renewable energy and also allows, thanks to batteries, to store it when there is a surplus in order to avoid losses. We are proud to sign this contract with ZE Energy, a young French company, independent producer of renewable energy, and pioneer in the development of new hybrid production models.”

Founded in 2019, ZE Energy currently has four projects in operations around France totaling 26MW of solar capacity and 25.75MW of storage capacity.

Mathieu Lassagne, president of ZE Energy, added: “We are very happy with the signing of this CPPA with Orange France. This format of the future, promising green electricity, at a stable, competitive price over a long period, opens the way to a much more virtuous economy in terms of energy consumption. ZE Energy's hybrid power plants, aimed at flexible production of solar energy, marketed in short circuits, fully participate in this.”

Orange aims to be net zero carbon by 2040. The telco has previously signed two solar PPAs in France with Total and Engie totaling more than 130MW, three PPAs in Poland, and two PPAs in Romania with Enery and Engie.

The telco is also installing solar panels at network sites and data centers. The company has deployed solar panels at two data centers in Poland in Łódź and Warsaw; and at its Bercenay-en-Othe teleport in France.

In Romania, the company is deploying panels in 300 network sites and four communication interconnection centers and data centers. As of August 2023, 650 solar panels had been installed on three interconnection centers in Constanța, Brașov, and Timişoara, as well as 133 network sites. In Africa, Orange is utilizing solar at data centers in the Ivory Coast – in Yamoussoukro and Grand Bassam – and Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.

2022 also saw Orange launch a €50 million ($56.3m) carbon fund to finance reforestation and ecological restoration projects.