Buildind site with solar panels on roof and the wind turbine Metronome 6 kw
Buildind site with solar panels on roof and the wind turbine Metronome 6 kw
At the beginning of 2010, Orange began an experiment. Its objective was to evaluate the potential of an association of solar panel energy and wind turbines for a self-sufficent telephone site.

The first step of the project was to organise a feasibility study, which was carried out by STUDEFFI in Le Mans. The objective was to clearly define the parameters involved, then to federate a group of partners, with complementary competences, who could provide the different technologies and the necessary know-how.
The site chosen for the experiment is located in the small town of Lorignac in Charentes Maritimes. 70% of the energy for this site was to be met by the solar / wind combinaison, and the other 30% by a generating unit or the French Electricity Supplier « EDF ».One of the principle technical challenges was also to comply with the norm « -48V » which is a standard telephone transmission.
The wind turbine chosen for this project « the Metronome 6kw » installed at the top of a 15 meter high mast, is designed and produced by EOLYS while the solar panels are supplied by the company SOLEWA. In the experiment, the over flow of electricity is stocked in lead batteries. At night or when there is too little sun or wind, the energy stocked in the batteries is used. When the load of the batteries becomes too low, it tilted on the local electrical network.

Set up of the wind turbine Metronome 6 kw
Set up of the wind turbine Metronome 6 kw
Development of the remote management software
Development of the remote management software
The global objective is the optimum management of each energy source to maintain the continuity of the telephone service. The EOLYS, Eltek, Orange and STUDEFFI team set up the technology and the software to mesure and record instantaneously all the parameters of the system and to insure that it is in perfect working order.
The active technology used in particular for the wind turbine, which takes into account the speed and direction of the wind on site, has enabled an optimum production of electricity.
After more than a year's experience, the initial objectives have been met, and, as one of the participating engineers stated, the experiment has led to « the definition of a standard ».
Nicolas Lerouge - Ingineer at Studeffi
Nicolas Lerouge
engineer at the
Le Mans-based company STUDEFFI, in charge of the feasibility study.
What are the specificities
of this project ?
The main specificity is to bring together in the same project very diverses technologies developed in different sectors. Other telephone operators had already tried to do this but the results were globally very disappointing...
What factors contributed to the success
of this experiment ?
This time, it was not only about technologies supplied by various companies letting the phone operator reach the targets on his own. The quality of the technology selected, the active collaboration of the different participants over more than one year and the constant exchange of technical data, all this enabled us to solve different technical problems and to take the best of each one to reach the common goals.
Set of lead batteries
Set of lead batteries
Electrical cabinet with the electronic control
Electrical cabinet with the electronic control
M. Jacques Turo - support engineer at Orange
Interview with Mr Jacques Turo,
support engineer at Orange,
Chief of Project for this experiment,
working in association with Régis Esnault, Engineer in charge of Studies in Sustainable Development at Orange.
Why did Orange launch this project ?
The main reason was to test a wind turbine combined with solar energy on a self-sufficient telephone site.
France Telecom has already been recompensed with several Green Awards. In Africa alone, we have already implanted more than 1000 self-sufficent sites using only solar technology. The combination of sun and wind energy will most certainly enable us to reduce the area of solar panels on each site.
Our second objective is to reduce operational costs ; wind turbines will provide energy presently supplied by generating units. This means transporting fuel by truck in addition to maintenance cost.
In what other regions of the world could sites like these be introduced ?
Besides Africa, we are thinking of other developping countries in South-East Asia and certain countries of the Middle East. As the principal function of these sites is mobile telephony, they all have an antena which could also be used as a mast for a wind turbine.
In addition, in each country, telemanagement, parameter control and supervision of the PLC of the wind turbines could be centralised and carried out via the present G2 or G3 networks pending the arrival of G4.