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Magazine Archive Huawei Special Edition 2020

Going off-grid

The global market for off-grid applications is enormous. Wood Mackenzie recorded roughly $2.1 billion in investment in offgrid energy markets from 2010 to 2019, and that was just based on what investors revealed. The analysts believe that with 420 million people now using standalone off-grid PV and an additional 47 million people depending on minigrids to obtain electricity, the decade ahead offers a huge opportunity. And Huawei is stepping in to support the microgrid market.

A dependable PPArtner for subsidy-free PV

The falling cost of PV has increasingly driven the adoption of solar technology in recent years. But for a long time, the solar industry was fully dependent on subsidies. German PV project developer BayWa r.e. made headlines in 2018 with its 175 MW Don Rodrigo plant just outside of Seville, in southern Spain. The company backed the array with a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA), marking the first time a project of that size had been refinanced in Europe without the help of subsidies. It later charted new territory again with the completion of Germany’s first subsidy-free PV project in 2019.

Three years of intelligent operations data

In 2016, Huaneng Hainan Power and Huawei jointly digitalized the Dongfang solar power plant in Hainan, China. As the first solar PV project to be digitalized, it is worth taking a look back to see how the new technology has actually bolstered performance.

‘PV is entering the AI era’

We are becoming a fully connected, more intelligent world – this is the mantra of Huawei. The telecoms giant is playing a leading role in integrating the cloud, AI, and 5G technologies to expand its portfolio with a comprehensive strategy that spans a wide range of its business units – and solar PV is no exception.

Sights on storage

The residential storage market doubled last year, driven by catastrophic outages that have included wild fires, hurricanes, and other problems in countries around the world. The booming global market for residential battery storage is being supported by new solutions that are linking rooftop PV assets to battery banks controlled by powerful new software platforms. Huawei is stepping into position to support the growing demand with a new suite of smart solar+storage solutions.

Talking investment: From the lab to next-gen PV

Huawei says it invests more than 10% of its revenue in research and development each year, with this figure reaching around 15% in the last two years. Over the past decade, the company’s R&D investment totaled CNY 480 billion ($67 billion). Huawei has established 14 R&D centers and more than 60 basic technology laboratories worldwide, covering materials, heat dissipation, mathematics, and wireless technologies. Chen Guoguang, the new president of the Smart PV Business Unit, discusses what this means for the advancement of solar.

Preventing fires with AI

Fires present significant potential risks to solar installations. They can destroy PV system components – such as modules, cables, and inverters – and also damage entire buildings. Inverter manufacturer Huawei says that arcs are the primary cause of serious fires in solar PV systems, as they account for more than 60% of all incidents involving rooftop PV systems. Manufacturers, developers, and governments alike have been implementing precautionary measures for years to prevent arcing and system fires – and now artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to emerge as another important safety solution.

AI steps into maintenance

The Covid-19 pandemic quarantine has introduced a new set of challenges for solar PV operations and maintenance. The topic has gained industry attention now that PV sites lack onsite personnel. Huawei says its new Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis – integrating artificial intelligence, digital technologies, and PV – is a first-step solution toward unmanned O&M. With the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) ever decreasing, improvements in O&M efficiency and accompanying cost reductions may accelerate the arrival of the grid parity era.

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