Necessary to Put More Efforts on Innovation
It is very much necessary to put more and more efforts in innovating the new solutions which can help our customers to get more value from solution. Currently Huawei Smart PV Business has five R&D (“Research and Development”) centers specifically for inverter products around the world with more than 800 engineers, says Mayank Mishra, Regional Sales Director, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., China-based one of the leading PV Inverters manufacturer. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International, Mishra shared his views on various topics related to Huawei’s presence in Indian market, innovations in PV inverters, emphasis on R&D etc. Here’re the excerpts from that exclusive interview published in the Saur Energy International Magazine’s April 2019 edition:
Q. What is the current cumulative GW of shipments where Huawei Inverters have been installed in India?
We’re very glad to announce that more than 3.5 GW Huawei inverter shipments in India. There’re many big companies which see Huawei as a solid ally to develop their PV plants, for example – Adani, Renew Power, Hero Future Energies, Engie, Greenko, NLC etc. By the end of December 2018, Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution has been deployed to over 90GW PV plants in various countries and regions, and recognized by customers from China, Europe, India, Asia Pacific, MEA and LATAM.
Q. What are the next big innovations you see coming in PV Inverters?
The largest challenge that PV inverters are currently facing is more in-depth intelligence, rather than the improvement of efficiency. In present scenario, inverters are expected to evolve into intelligent devices that can “think”, “listen”, “speak”, and “perceive”, facilitating the comprehensive intelligence transformation of PV plants. This year, Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution has further applied AI technology to PV plants. We update the traditional astronomical algorithm and adopt intelligent trackers and bifacial PV modules based on AI algorithms to achieve the integration of tracker control, power supply, and communication, maximizing energy yields.
As we know, bifacial PV modules, in different terrains, increase energy yields and mismatches at the same time. According to the empirical test of a large PV plant in northwest China, the energy yield of the bifacial PV modules + smart trackers
+ multiple MPPTs solution can be improved by more than 20%, as compared to the unifacial PV modules
+ fixed trackers + central inverters solution. AI auto learning enables the trackers to fit the bifacial PV modules better by optimizing the tracking algorithm, which brings additional 0.5% to more than 1% of energy yields.
Furthermore, big-data analysis + AI algorithms are oriented to more refined component level monitoring and management, which can proactively discover low-performance unit, achieving the revolution from passive maintenance to active preventive maintenance. Huawei, further, upgraded the Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis which was jointly innovated with Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. The Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis and AI recognition enabled the smart diagnosis for multiple components in various scenarios. Currently, the technology has been applied to more than 3 GW of PV plants. We have accumulated extensive experience in promoting the healthy state of PV plants.
The application of AIenables unmanned O&M of PV plants. Oneclick scanning of the Huawei Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis 3.0 ensures the scanning of all strings in a hundred-MW PV plant in just 15 minutes. More importantly, integration of AI algorithm makes trackers work with bifacial PV modules more easily.
Therefore, AI aided 1500V Smart PV Solution with bifacial PV module and smart tracker is becoming the acceleration engine of grid parity in Indian solar market ensuring optimal LCOE of the PV plant.
Q. India is considered a price sensitive market, but Huawei has still done very well, without being the lowest cost supplier, how did you achieve this?
Huawei agrees that all the customers would prefer higher efficiency products at low cost, and Indian market is quite outstanding. However, the price is definitely not the only reason for global customers to choose Huawei Smart PV Solution. The most important factor to be considered is high quality products, including high reliability, high efficiency and end-to-end smart PV solution etc. Taking 25-year life span into consideration, the Smart PV Solution that Huawei offers has the optimal LCOE for solar projects.
Huawei believes high quality is essential for the longer life of the product, and we never sacrifice quality to lower our product costs. This has raised confidence of our customer in Huawei solution and their immense faith in Huawei solutions has reflected in repeat orders and making Huawei No.1 inverter solution supplier globally.
Q. What are your internal expectations from the Indian solar park level, and rooftop segments in 2019 and 2020?
The total installed solar capacity in India grew to 28GW by the end of December 2018. According to Bridge to India, 2019 should register an all-time high in utility scale capacity additions, crossing 10 GW mark for the first time ever. As per media report, more than 15 GW of tenders are awaited for bidding in current financial year, which ensures a consistent demand of more than 10 GW in 2020 and 2021.
Indian rooftop solar market witnessed rapid growth in 2018, and the total installed capacity reached 3.4 GW. We are particularly positive on this market in the coming years.
Q. Which is your largest selling string inverter model currently? Do you expect this to be replaced with a different model soon?
Recently, the SUN2000-95KTL-INH0 (“95KTL”) 1500Vdc smart interactive string inverter is our best-selling model. It’s a ground-breaking design in inverter technology, offering 12 strings intelligent monitoring and fast trouble-shooting, 6 MPPT per unit, effectively reducing string mismatch, maximum efficiency 99.0%, European efficiency 98.8%, Power Line Carrier Communication (“PLCC”) and Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis supported, no vulnerable parts like fuses and LCD, protection degree of IP65, high availability, high uptime and low O&M cost.
This 95KTL string inverter integrates Smart DC System Algorithm, big data analysis and AI algorithm to take the energy yield produced by the rear panel of the bifacial PV modules into consideration and automatically adjust the trackers to an angle that optimizes the energy yield by increasing it by 0.5% to 1%.
That’s why there’re a branch of new developing projects, such as Engie 250MW Kadapa project, Renew Power 325MW project and Hero Future Energies 300MW PV plant in Bhadla Solar Park etc. are on a spree in opting this module.
This year, during Intersolar Europe and SNEC, we will launch a new model that is a complete breakthrough. Please stay tuned to the exciting innovations that Huawei will bring to the table in an era where energy digitalization is on. Together, we can pass the benefits of digital technology to everyone.
Q. The government is pushing for creating storage capacity, besides much higher CUF’s (capacity utilization factor, energy efficiency) in some of its larger projects now. Does Huawei provide inputs to the government bodies on the technology side when deciding the terms?
India is finally seeing the emergence of a grid-scale energy storage market. After years of anticipation, SECI has recently rolled out tender for 3.6 GW of storage linked with 1.2 GW of solar; which gladly demonstrates the emergence of grid scale energy storage market. Huawei has been in touch with government organization and shared our experience time to time for new technology and innovative solutions. We believe with the help of new smart solution and digital technology we can achieve higher system level efficiency and availability which will help our customers to lower the LCOE of the project further using storage solution.
Q. How do you see markets beyond China and India evolving? Which are the other regions you see rowing fast in 2019-20?
We’ve noticed there are lot of countries and regions that have massive growth space and huge potential. For example, South Korea, Spain, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and MEA and we’re full of confidence in the solar market in 2019-2020. India has sufficient and long duration of sunshine, which provides the motivation to develop solar industry. Solar energy will be the main force of future energy market, especially when we enter to the grid parity period.
Huawei is committed to taking a leading role in integrating digital information technologies such as AI, IoT, big data and cloud computing with PV technology. Huawei has been keeping innovations which is the key reason Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution recognized widely by global customers.
Q. How much Huawei put emphasis on R&D and why you believe it is necessary for the industry?
It is very much necessary to put more and more efforts in innovating the new solutions which can help our customers to get more value from solution. Currently Huawei Smart PV Business has five R&D (“Research and Development”) centers specifically for inverter products around the world with more than 800 engineers. This shows our strong commitment towards innovation and we will continue to provide cutting edge products and excellent service for the development of Indian solar industry.