Orange inaugurates its 200th solar-powered mobile relay station in Ndelle, Senegal
Paris, Orange has set up a new mobile relay station 250 km from Dakar that is 100% powered by a solar generator. This represents the 200th such station deployed by Orange in the Africa-Middle East-Asia (AMEA) region. The use of solar energy is enables isolated populations, without any power supply, to access the mobile network.
With this innovative mobile engineering program, Orange is increasing mobile coverage in rural areas while continuing to work towards its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. For the AMEA region, this is reflected in the ambition to take the percentage of solar energy in its networks’ power supply up to 25% by 2015.
In addition to bringing the energy bill down, these facilities are also simpler to put in place and less expensive to operate than traditional solutions based on air-conditioned buildings and power generators, whose fuel supplies and maintenance can be problematic. They also offer greater reliability and therefore a considerably improved quality of service.
The solar panels collect solar energy during the day and convert it into electrical power. A regulator charges up the solar batteries, which have an average storage capacity of up to four days. The objective is to be able to power the mobile network equipment so that it can handle calls and route communications during both the day and the night. The type of equipment selected by Orange is designed to operate outside, with a simple ventilation system replacing the air conditioning. The system’s design makes it possible to not only reduce energy consumption by eliminating every unnecessary watt, but also to simplify and streamline maintenance.
Present in Ndelle for this inauguration, Jean-Philippe Vanot, Executive Director for Networks and IT systems at France Telecom-Orange, announced that: “We are proud that this innovative and environmentally-friendly programme, honored today with Sonatel in Senegal, is taking on a new dimension each day through our Orange operations in countries such as Madagascar, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Niger and Mali. By the end of 2009, Orange will have more than one thousand 100% solar-powered stations”.
This program is fully in line with the sustainable development policy implemented by the Group wherever it is present. In addition to its environmental aspect, it has a community focus: as each station produces an energy surplus of 25% on average, Orange will be looking on a case-by-case basis with local players into how to use this surplus to improve living conditions for the surrounding villages. This could range from simply charging up lamps or mobile phones to supplying power for a refrigerator containing medication, for a school to promote literacy among women in the evenings or even for a maternity unit.
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