A digitalized smart PV plant enables higher yields and lower failure rates, Guoguang Chen of Huawei says

11/2/16, 11:00 AM -

Expert interview: Guoguang Chen, General Manager for Huawei Solar Europe is talking about the benefits of digitalization for PV, the solutions the company offers and the importance of European markets.

Guoguang Chen, General Manager for Huawei Solar Europe (left) and John Scherders, VP Operations Technology Europe at DHL at the expanded European Supply Center of Huawei Solar in Eindhoven.

pv Europe: At Solar Power Europe`s 100 GW celebration end of September in Brussels you mentioned your vision of fully digitalized smart PV plants. Can you describe what you mean with that?

Guoguang Chen: The PV industry is still quite young and most people are racing to capture the sun; always in a hurry to commission a solar plant before end of the month, to achieve a slightly higher feed–in- tariff. This racing mentality can often cause us to rush decisions and think only about purchasing hardware such as modules, inverters and, mounting systems, instead of taking time to look at the bigger picture of intelligent software. There is a huge amount of data that needs processing to run a smart PV plant. It requires state-of- the-art ICT technologies to achieve the performance improvements expected now of the PV industry. It is for this reason that we have introduced the Smart PV Controller powered by a telecom chipset, Power line communication (PLC), a 4G LTE solution, all managed in the cloud. Altogether, we call this Fusionsolar. Its processing capability is 100 times faster than the previous industry standard, and this is a unique platform delivering a fully-digitalized PV plant.

What are the benefits for the investors and plant operators and for the competitiveness of PV?

A digitalized smart PV plant enables higher yields and lower failure rates. Combined, this equated to lower O&M cost and better monitoring.

What functions does your NetEco platform and SmartLogger offer?

NetEco is a smart inverter monitoring platform, allowing insight into the string level of each inverter and an effective digitalized remote access and control from any internet access point. The SmartLogger is a communication device controlling the inverters at a central point in the transformer station capable of collecting, storing and forwarding the data onto the NetEco platform and executing commands from the NetEco platform.

How expensive is it and how many costs can a plant operator save?

We review our smart PV solutions on a case-by-case scenario, focusing on the cost-of-system, not just individual parts in isolation

Are your monitoring solutions also compatible with other inverters?

We currently have the NetEco monitoring platform, which is a free of charge monitoring platform where you can view your site performance. There is an upgraded FusionSolar platform which is the paid for service having a more detailed software and includes insight into the overall PV plant, including the other power electronic devices as well. Huawei’s monitoring solutions are not currently compatible with other inverter brands. However, our SmartLoggers work based on an open modbus protocol system.

What other smart products for the digitalization of larger PV systems do you offer?

The SmartLogger, as mentioned above, is a core key component of the digitalized smart PV plant. The inverter too is not only a power conversion component, but also a Smart PV Controller that incorporates power conversion, remote control, data collection, online analysis and environment adaptation. 

How do you see the potential for digitalization of the PV residential market and what solutions do you offer?

We have exciting plans for the residential PV market in store for Q2 2017. As with utility scale, digitalization will be at the heart of our approach. We are introducing an energy management system which brings a network approach to residential PV that allows homeowners to both generate electricity but also monitor performance and better understand their consumption in the same way that a smart meter would.

You recently expanded your European Supply Center in Eindhoven. Who are your distribution and installing partners? Do you offer additional services like training?

We collaborate with DHL on the logistics side to supply products to our customers in Europe. We provide local pre-sales design and solution support, training days for engineers and technical sales team, as well as after-sales service support from our service engineers

What are your Top 5 European countries?

Germany, UK, France, Turkey and Netherlands.

Interviewed by Hans-Christoph Neidlein

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