Orange and Engie announce solar plan for Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon

Electric gridEnergy company Engie and mobile provider Orange are to rollout nearly 1,000 solar kits to the countries under a new plan to address rural electrification issues in Africa

Several villages in rural areas have already been selected in a first phase pilot programme before its wider deployment, the companies announced during the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held 7-18 November in Marrakech, Morocco.

Engie, responsible for the installation and maintenance of the equipment, will supply the solar kits through its partners BBOXX and Fenix International.

Orange will oversee the kits' commercial deployment and manage customer billing via its 'Orange Money' service, which allows consumers to rent the equipment through installment payments and pay remotely in a safe and secure way.

The kits feature a solar panel connected to a battery, which can be used as as an electricity source for domestic appliances, a remote control and mobile payment system.

They also act as a lighting solution for LED lamps and can be used to operate radios, televisions or recharge mobile phones.

"This equipment offers an alternative solution, at low cost, that can replace petroleum lamps, disposable batteries or diesel-powered devices, which are all potentially dangerous pollutants," a statement read.

Africa faces major challenges with regards to energy access, with large swathes of the sub-Saharan population without access to the electricity grid.

Orange and Engie signed an agreement in 2015 to collaborate on ways to develop rural electrification by increasing the supply of electricity to telecoms infrastructure.

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