System 6 – REACH Renewable – MTN Headquarters Datacentre



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MTN Headquarters Datacentre - 484 m2 Concentrating Linear Fresnel Solar Cooling System – REACH Renewable


REACH Renewable designed and installed the first Concentrating Linear Fresnel Solar Cooling system in the commercial telecommunication industry. The system generates 242 kW(thermal heat) peak and provides 330 kW(thermal cooling) peak.



 An absorption chiller uses heat instead of electricity as the driving energy source to produce cooling (chilled water). The extraction of heat happens through a repeated process of evaporation under vacuum, whereby water is separated from a lithium bromide solution and the water becomes the refrigerant in the system. This means that the ozone depletion potential (ODP) as well as the global warming potential (GWP) of the refrigerant are “zero”. The heat in this system is generated from the sun.


22 modules with a peak heat generation capacity of 11kW each are installed in a series of two 11-module strings to produce 242 kW(thermal heat) peak. Each module consists of 11 mirror rows, who uniaxially track the sun to focus the sunlight onto a central vacuum absorber tube. The tracking is based on a close-control system, which follows a program based on GPS coordinates, date & time and orientation of the solar array. A secondary receiver on top of the absorber tube collects and refocusses the sunrays that missed the absorber tube in the first attempt.


In the absorber tube the water is heated to 180 degrees Celsius, which is the required heat input temperature to a double-effect absorption chiller and after transfering the heat to the absorption chiller, the water returns to the solar array at 165 degrees Celsius. The operating pressure of the solar loop is 12 barg.


The system is controlled on supply temperature and can be precisely regulated by either adjusting the flowrate through the system or by defocussing the mirrors.


In the event of any safety chain breaches (eg: high wind loads, high&low pressure, low/no flow, no power) the mirrors move into the protective stow position. A UPS unit is installed to drive the mirrors, if power to the system is cut.

In case of rain the mirrors automatically move into a self-cleaning position.


On the cold side of the absorption chiller the chilled water is circulated to the datacentre space for equipment cooling. The capacity of the solar system is around 50% of the total datacentre cooling requirement once fully occupied.

The medium temperature heat is rejected via a cooling tower.



The Linear Fresnel technology provides a solution to the South African Industrial sector for process heating and cooling or direct steam generation.


Frank Major
Tell: +27 11 463 2833






Please post your comments, opinions or any specific questions you might have.

One Comment

  1. Dear Mr. Frank Major;
    your system solutions are outstanding. would you please consider presenting your experience in SolarTr 2014 conference by submitting an abstract via the link below:

    the conference is also suitable and extremely useful for your company’s introduction to Turkish Solar Market by reserving a company booth.

    all the best,
    dr. bulent yesilata
    professor and scientific chair of the conference

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