Huawei’s president of Smart PV on solar digitization and its new PV storage solutions


pv magazine: Huawei has developed a new strategy for the future development of solar PV. What does it involve?

Chen Guoguang, President of Smart PV, Huawei: Huawei brought its new generation All-Scenario FusionSolar + Storage Solution to this year’s SNEC. It is a “5+4+1” solution. The “5” means five core Huawei technologies, including watt technology, thermal technology, storage technology, cloud technology, and AI technology, which help to combine the flows of energy and information. The “4” refers to four major application scenarios, including the Smart PV Generator for utility scale solar, residential green power, industrial green power, and off-grid fuel-removal power supply. Finally, the “1” refers to Huawei’s energy cloud, which will integrate power generation, energy storage, and consumption load with help of AI management.

Huawei aims to promote these new technologies to contribute to the energy structure reform from conventional energy to a renewable energy system, and to help China and other countries achieve their carbon emission and carbon neutrality targets.

Huawei sees digitalization as a key aspect of the energy transition?

Yes. We think there are four essential elements in the building up of a renewable energy system. The first is a high proportion of renewable energy, including the replacement of conventional energy by wind, solar, and storage in the power generation sector. The second is the popularization of electrification on the user side, including electric transportation and electric vehicles. The third is wider utilization of electronics in the electricity power system, and more interaction between power generation, the grid, and electricity users. The fourth is the digitalization and intellectualization of the energy system which can manage massive nodes in the energy internet, including solar PV plants, storage, electric vehicles, and millions of applications. And this point is the core of the system: to ensure its function and security.

How has Huawei’s FusionSolar product, currently in its eighth version, evolved?

FusionSolar was initially designed to reduce system costs and improve total efficiencies. At the early stages, Huawei focused on lower levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) and easy operations and maintenance (O&M) for grid connected, ground-mounted PV plants. However, with the rapid cost reduction over the past years, solar power has achieved economic competitiveness compared to other energy. Our new generation FusionSolar is thus focusing on how to reduce the volatility of solar power by better controlled integration of PV and storage.

For example, we presented the Smart PV Power Generator concept, which aims to not only reduce system costs, but also make PV power systems generate stabilized power, like traditional hydro and coal power. This will help PV to be a popular power source and connect to the grid on a worldwide scale.

What solar sector will the Smart PV Power Generator initially target? 

Huawei has the All-Scenario FusionSolar solution, and we aim to target all sectors with this, from utility-scale PV, off-grid systems, and commercial and industrial (C&I) to residential rooftop PV.

How does Huawei view the building integrated PV (BIPV) market?

We think BIPV is a promising market. However, from my experience of visiting over 100 countries and observing their PV markets, I want to emphasize the importance of safety. I think this is a key factor for inverter products in the BIPV field; they must be guaranteed by reliable technology, and rapid shutdown is essential. I want to urge all PV inverter manufacturers to pay attention to this point when marketing and selling BIPV inverters, because the whole market development will be easily hurt or even suspended by fires or explosions if inverters are lacking safety specifications.

2020 PV inverter shipments for Huawei totaled 42 GW, which is a new record. Is a capacity expansion on the cards?  

We have planned for around 100 GW of inverter capacity in 2021. We benefit from production automation, and have plenty of production elasticity, which makes our capacity flexible to market needs.

What are your 2021 shipment targets for PV inverter and storage products?

We aim to ship 60 GW of inverters this year. However, based on the past few months and the booming market, we will probably exceed this figure by the end of the year. For storage, our target is 3 GWh worth of sales in 2021.

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