Exclusive Interview With Alex He, General Manager, Huawei Technologies Co.Ltd.
- How much Inverters have you supplied to India till now? What is the target/expectation in 2016?
In 2015, Huawei signed a 100 MW contract with Waaree Energies. In 2016, Huawei sees India an essential inverter market. Our goal is 1GW and we are already in stage of closing some big contracts with key players in Indian market.
- What is your view on the GOI target of 100GW Solar Power by 2022? What’s your commitment towards the solar sector in India?
According to forecast by Mercom Capital Group, the PV power capacity planned for India in 2016 will be increased to over 4GW and the market scale will double. The PV market in India will maintain rapid growth. By 2022, PV power target yield will increase from 20GW to 100GW. Huawei will bring more advanced and useful products and solutions to the Indian market to contribute to the prosperity of the PV industry in India.
- The recent aggressive bidding by various developers keeping Solar Tariffs in the price range of Rs.4.34 – Rs.5 per kWh in various Solar Tenders. What’s your view on the viability, Costs & timeline pressures, Resource Challenges (Materials, ManPower, Execution, Grid Connection, Land Possession) etc…
Healthy competition is always good for any industry but it has to be backed up by new technology and innovative methods of reducing overall costs and making it a viable business. Huawei has already taken steps in this direction and is committed to revolutionize solar industry by introducing Smart PV solution and using its globally known innovative digital technology in string inverters in order to increase generation with lower or same CAPEX and better LCOE.
Tariff cut down seems to be based on expectation that prices of key components will come down. As the timeline for any project to be executed is 18 months so, developers are relying on new technologies and revised pricing for components, which seems to be a big challenge.
Resource challenges like land, manpower, material, etc also gets addressed by using string solution in utility projects as it requires less land, man power and material for installing, commissioning the plant. Hence, if industry moves in a right direction then surely even lower tariffs will generate reasonable profits.
- Present some noteworthy projects, case studies of solar plants built using your solar Inverters?
Huawei has already executed more than 16GW capacity of plants using their Smart PV string solution not only in plain ground regions but also in remote and extreme locations like mountains, sea coasts, etc across the globe. Some special projects in Japan like floating plant on the river using their string inverters are unique in itself, projects on agricultural fields, fisheries, etc themselves states the usefulness of Huawei’s products in terms of quality, O&M and performance.
- What are your plans for manufacturing set up in India, the opportunities and challenges in manufacturing in India?
Huawei understands the importance of local manufacturing set ups and challenges related to it. In 2011, Huawei started local manufacturing of telecom related parts in Chennai, India. So we have already created base for any future strategy to start for solar products. There are more than 5700 employees in India, and 2700 of them dedicated to R&D. We have one Technical Assistant Call Center, four Service Centers and six Spare Part Center in India from north to south. In this case we can provide better services for our local customers.
Solar industry is in its growing phase in India and definitely in the near future if this trend continues then Huawei will not hesitate to have local manufacturing set up for solar inverters in India as well.
- What is the size of your company in terms of manufacturing capacities, growth chart, future expansion plans, revenues, shipments, ASP’s, financial figures?
Huawei solar has shipped 10.5GW string inverter solutions globally in 2015. There will be a huge growth in 2016. We have aggressive expansion plans to maximize the Huawei string inverter market share. And our main focus is on China, Japan and India market. As China market may saturate in coming years and India solar market is all set to take a strong growth, Huawei is fully committed to support the growth. Huawei already has a manufacturing platform in Chennai; if market gives promising results we may consider option of expanding manufacturing in India.
In India market we supplied 100MW to Waaree energies in 2015, and current financial year some big projects are under contract signing stage, by the end of year we may be able to secure over 1GW project in India.
- Kindly highlight your product, technology & company USP’s, distinctive advantages etc…
This year Huawei developed the new string inverter “SUN2000-43KTL-IN-C1” for Indian market. The inverter maximum efficiency is 98.9%. In addition, Multiple MPP trackers realize real time and accurate string detection. The detection accuracy can reach 0.5%, 6 times higher than traditional centralized inverters. Multiple MPP trackers can also effectively reduce the impact and influence caused by shadowing and string mismatch, dramatically improving the yields by at least 2% for ground PV plants, and up to 5% and more for hill and mountain mounted PV plants. With low DC/AC ratio, the inverter has higher energy yield and costs less solar modules, less solar mounting and less land occupation. With higher reliability, the inverter uptime can reach to 99.9% if sufficient the spare parts are maintained on site.
Fully closed design ensures high level protection based on our mature and advanced telecom technology. IP65 protection makes our inverter versatile for all the hostile outdoor environment like high temperature, high dampness, high altitude, extreme cold, sandy, salt and mist areas. The highest humidity that our inverter can stand is 100%, and the highest temperature can be 60 ℃.
In addition, we remove quick wear parts like external fans with natural cooling technology and fuses, which enable ZERO touch maintenance and guarantee human and property safety.
We use our own chipset Hisilicon and operating system to reduce the weight and heat dispersion. There are no quick wear parts like fuse and external fans, which ensure free maintenance. Furthermore, our inverters are open, supporting inputs of different equipment and parts like trackers and sensors of other industries.
Furthermore, we adopt the Power Line Communication (PLC) technology, allowing communication via power cable and removing communications cable. The PLC is cable-free, and the communication bandwidth is much higher than RS485. Additionally, the engineering is accordingly simplified and economic.
Our patented anti-PID module can avoid PID effect without PV-tie to ground directly, effectively guaranteeing human safety.
Our string inverters are in excellent condition for the 100 MW project with Waaree. The stable and high efficiency running is highly recognized by Waaree. We expect more customers to choose and enjoy the high performance of our smart PV inverters.
- What are the trends in new manufacturing technology equipment, materials, processes, innovations etc…?
Huawei 1500V smart PV solution features simple structure, minimizing DC nodes and arc risks. The five-level architecture minimizes component loss and improves efficiency to more than 99%. Traditional 10MW power plants have 10 MPPTs based on the formula of one MPPT for one 1MW array. Each Huawei smart string inverter has four MPPTs. A power plant of 10 MW capacities has 630 MPPTs (more than 60 times when compared with that of traditional inverters), minimizing impact of PV string mismatch and improving the power yield. In addition, costs in engineering and cables are saved, bringing more profits with the same investments.
Huawei recently launches additional feature as IV curve of each string which can be obtained through Huawei smart ACU 2000 and NetEco web software and mobile app.
- According to latest report released by IHS and GTM Research, Huawei won the Global No.1 Shipment. As we know Huawei became the inverter supplier for only 3 years, but the market ratio is growing rapidly. Why Huawei can become the No.1?
Yes, this is true. Huawei has won the Global No. 1 inverter shipment award; here is the list of current inverter supplier raking for 2015. We believe to continue this trend in coming years by increasing the market share.
Huawei as a company believes in innovating new technologies and serving market needs with high production volumes. In 2015 we shipped total 10.5 GW string inverters with more than 2GW to other countries than China. Huawei market share is growing exponentially because of our conviction to promote string inverter as future technology replacing conventional central inverter solution by simplifying design and installation, which reduce initial CAPEX and significantly improves solar plant uptime to 99.9%.
Equivalent CAPEX as central inverter, higher yield up 2%, simple O&M saving maintenance cost, and safe and reliable system are the key reasons for our rapid growth. We believe to continuously upgrade and innovate our product offering as per the market need.